Bristol K5G, North Western Road Car Company

Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #14: Lowbridge Buses

The even longer awaited fourteenth part of our informal look at bus operations For beginners.

Once upon a time, quite some time ago, a certain Robert Stephenson created the world’s first true inter-city railway line. By September 1830, it carried its first passengers and goods between Liverpool and Manchester city centres. Today, Liverpool Lime Street is the world’s oldest railway terminus in continuous use. Liverpool Road station, in Manchester, is part of the Science Museum Group as Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum.

On reading the previous paragraph, you may be asking yourself, “What has this got to be do with buses?” Quite a bit, because not all railway bridges are sixteen feet or higher above our roads, bridleways, canals, footpaths and rivers. Our earlier road bridges were designed for horses and carts, never mind state-of-the-art electric cars. Or double decker buses.

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SHMD Daimler CVG6 front loading

Classic Bus Lotto: Another Escape to the Pantry Special

Do you have a young child who is mad on Greater Manchester’s buses?

Due to Coronavirus-orientated cabin fever or stir craziness, you may be wondering what a bus looks like. You might have a youngster who wants to go to the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport, though couldn’t do thanks to recent events. You know, the very rugrat whom in later years might want a British Rail moquette cup coaster for his or her office.

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Autonomous bus dashboard

Full Size Automated Bus Begins Depot Trials

Stagecoach Manchester tests the world’s first autonomous bus at Sharston depot

For several years, Greater Manchester has been at the forefront of revolutionary developments in passenger transport. Almost 50 years ago, the Chloride battery bus – an all battery powered single decker bus – led to today’s electric vehicles.

Yesterday, as seen on North West Tonight and in the Manchester Evening News, Stagecoach Manchester tested Alexander Dennis’ new creation: an autonomous version of an Enviro200 single decker bus. This was also made possible with custom made software by Fusion Processing.

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Wheelie-Good Mobile Grotto Brings Christmas Cheer

How a converted Volvo B10M bus has brought festive joy to Manchester hospitals, as a mobile grotto

Volvo B10M R982 XVM, seen as a wheelie-good mobile Santa’s Grotto.

Christmas is never a good time to be poorly, and being in hospital over The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is a pretty grim spectacle. Even worse when you’re young. Thanks to a converted Volvo B10M bus, Stagecoach Manchester brought some Christmas cheer to young patients at Wythenshawe Hospital and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

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In Pictures: Grandmother Celebrates 80th Birthday By Driving a Bus

A double decker birthday surprise for a bus-loving grandmother

Planning a special treat for a family member’s birthday can be awkward at any age. Some might prefer a birthday party in a local pub, others fancy a quiet night in and a cheapo birthday cake from your favourite supermarket.

Some people, like the creator of East of the M60, might prefer a transport-themed celebration. Retired nursery nurse Margaret Swallow, from Stalybridge, celebrated her 80th birthday by driving a double decker bus.

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In Pictures: The Last Days of Mercedes Citaro Operation in Tameside and Oldham

A fond farewell to First Greater Manchester’s longest serving single decker buses

Today [31 March 2018] marked the end of an era in First Greater Manchester’s 22-year history of bus operation. Their Mercedes Citaro single decker buses have been retired from revenue earning service. A popular sight in mainland Europe, the Mercedes Citaro bus has had a mixed reaction on these shores. They are seen as the bus equivalent of the ‘Burning Bush’ valve radio due to their combustibility.

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Stagecoach’s Little & Often: A Bee Line Buzz for the 21st Century?

Stagecoach South East’s revival of high frequency minibuses

This time thirty years ago, the word on the streets of Wythenshawe, Dukinfield and Stockport were high frequency minibuses. In particular, Carlyle bodied minibuses with a yellow, black and red livery sporting a vinyl bee. Or the Ivecos and Fords of GM Buses’ Little Gem services. Continue reading “Stagecoach’s Little & Often: A Bee Line Buzz for the 21st Century?”

53’s a Magic Number: Stagecoach Manchester’s New Enviro400 MMCs

53 new double deckers part of latest fleet update

A selection of Enviro400 MMC buses making up the number 53.
A selection of Enviro400 MMC buses making up the number 53. Image courtesy of a Tangerine PR photographer who doesn’t mind heights.

53, in Greater Manchester circles is a magic number. It conjures up images of the Belle Vue bus which, at one time, used to run every four minutes. Today, in this context, 53 is a tragic number as the present First Greater Manchester service is half hourly (or hourly on Sundays, evenings and Bank Holidays).

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In Pictures: The Big Orange 2016, Greater Manchester Museum of Transport

Special event commemorated by presentation of newly preserved bus

Andrew Fender and Christopher Bowles seen with B65 PJA, Leyland Olympian.
Andrew Fender (Transport for Greater Manchester) and Christopher Bowles (Managing Director, Stagecoach Manchester) seen with B65 PJA, Leyland Olympian at the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport, Cheetham.

The 2016 Big Orange event at the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport was marked by the handover of a newly preserved bus. Joining Greater Manchester Transport Society’s collection is B65 PJA, a 1985 Leyland Olympian. Originally allocated to Altrincham depot, the bus was last seen in revenue earning service in 2011, in Magic Bus livery. Continue reading “In Pictures: The Big Orange 2016, Greater Manchester Museum of Transport”

Alexander’s Last Ride: Farewell to the Volvo B10M

Special running day along 192 service from Piccadilly Gardens

Stagecoach Manchester Volvo B10M R982 XVM, Wellington Road South, Stockport
Farewell: the Volvo B10M, which was Stagecoach Manchester’s step entrance single decker of choice from 1997 to 2009 on many routes. Seen here is R982 XVM, drafted in at short notice from Hyde Road depot on the 04 April 2014.

After nearly 25 years of operation in Greater Manchester, the Volvo B10M will be a thing of the past. With the exception of driver training vehicles, Stagecoach in Manchester is set to give them a good send-off on the 14 November. Continue reading “Alexander’s Last Ride: Farewell to the Volvo B10M”