Bower Fold backdrop

Book Review: British Football’s Greatest Grounds

Not only a coffee table book for groundhoppers; a must for any football fan

  • Title: British Football’s Greatest Grounds: One Hundred Must-See Football Venues;
  • Author: Mike Bayly;
  • Photography: various contributors including David Bauckman, Paul Paxford, Colin McPherson, Andy Nunn, Stuart Tree, Ben Webster,
  • Publisher: Pitch Publishing Limited (2020);
  • Recommended Selling Price: £30.00 (hardback).

At this moment in time, you may be missing your football fix if you often go out to see your favourite team. Due to the lockdown, only Elite League football teams (National Leagues North and South upwards) can continue their season. In what is now known as The Trident Leagues (Northern Premier, Southern and Isthmian leagues), league football has been suspended till further notice. Likewise with its regional feeder leagues.

Continue reading “Book Review: British Football’s Greatest Grounds”
Optare Solo, Stagecoach Greater Manchester, MX58 HCK

Exact Fare Policy Raises More Than £122k for NHS Charities Together

Stagecoach passengers thanked for supporting major donation to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal

  • Over £122,000 raised by Stagecoach passengers for NHS charity with £19,271.72 raised by Stagecoach Greater Manchester passengers;
  • Passengers thanked for their support in the exact fare scheme, though passengers still encouraged to use contactless payment wherever possible.

The Stagecoach Group has thanked its customers across the UK for helping to raise more than £122,000 for the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Appeal. As part of this total amount, Stagecoach Greater Manchester’s contribution was £19,271.72.

Continue reading “Exact Fare Policy Raises More Than £122k for NHS Charities Together”
Northern Class 195, Manchester Airport

Rail Franchising, 1994 – 2020: An Honest Obituary

System exacerbated fragmented nature of National Rail network

Rail Franchising, a part of British railway policy since 1994, was laid to rest at the age of twenty-six. Its original aim was to raise standards across the rail network and improve on services launched by the outgoing British Railways Board. Today, it was announced by Transport Minister Grant Shapps that all franchised operations will be replaced by Emergency Recovery Management Agreements for six to eighteen month periods.

Continue reading “Rail Franchising, 1994 – 2020: An Honest Obituary”
Stagecoach Manchester Enviro200 MX11 HHC, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station

Bus and Coach Worker Support Day: Stagecoach Pays Tribute

Industry united in supporting Britain’s bus and coach workers

On Tuesday, Stagecoach paid tribute to the country’s bus and coach workers, to mark Bus and Coach Worker Support Day. This recognises the thousands of people involved in keeping key bus services running during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue reading “Bus and Coach Worker Support Day: Stagecoach Pays Tribute”
Darranlas from Penrhiwcaradog Farm (G. Evans, 2009).

TV Review: Our Lives: Battle of the Bands

East of the M60‘s review of BBC One’s documentary on brass banding

Our Lives: Battle of the Bands: BBC One, 27 May 2019, 7.30pm

  • Presenter: Ruth Madoc;
  • Musical Director (Tredegar Town Band): Ian Porthouse;
  • Musical Director (Cory Band): Philip Harper;
  • Executive Producer (BBC Wales): Christina Macaulay;
  • Executive Producer (Yeti Media Ltd): Siân Price;
  • Producer and Director: Gruff Rees.

© 2019 Yeti Media Ltd for BBC Wales.

Brass banding seems to be at the back of the queue in relation to television coverage these days. Before the late 1980s, BBC had Champion Brass which gave our brass bands a national arena for viewers who couldn’t afford the trip to the Royal Albert Hall. There was also similar competitions organised by ITV franchises, most notably Granada Television’s Granada Band of the Year.

Continue reading “TV Review: Our Lives: Battle of the Bands”

Forgotten Rail Journeys: York to Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth

A look at the long forgotten overnight train from Yorkshire to Mid Wales

86012 at Crewe 1979
Going Postal: 86 012 seen at Crewe station. Image by Steve Jones, 28 September 1979.

Till fairly recently, a lot of our post was delivered via rail with road for the last mile journeys to sorting offices. Before Railnet’s last hurrah for the Travelling Post Office, the TPO trains were a common feature of our railways. Mainline stations had dedicated platforms for the Royal Mail trains (platform 17 at Manchester Victoria station was one example). For a slight premium (an extra penny on a stamp), you could post your letters through the post box of a stationary TPO train. Continue reading “Forgotten Rail Journeys: York to Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth”

Is This The 346? The Not So Perfect Ten

Another ten 346 bus routes across the UK and overseas

Volvo B9TL First Greater Manchester, MX58 EBG, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
The 346 we know and love: Dukinfield’s 346 route, a product of two former SHMD routes (11 and 15).

Before I begin, it has been a while since our last edition of The Not So Perfect Ten. It has been even longer since we did a Not So Perfect Ten based on a bus route number. The last was a countdown on the 409 service (which only mustered nine entries at the time). The previous one to that was based on the 343 service. Continue reading “Is This The 346? The Not So Perfect Ten”

Trans-Pennine ‘Spoons Trek: A Top Beer Not So Perfect Ten

Ten ‘must-see’ J.D. Wetherspoon houses across the Pennines

Tim Martin’s J.D. Wetherspoon’s empire seems to polarise the nation’s drinkers. At one end of the scale, they are seen as a Tesco or McDonalds for beer, threatening traditional public houses. On the other hand, some see the ‘Spoons estate as the best marketplace for cask conditioned ales. The Guardian rated them as “Britain’s canteen”, fulfilling a similar purpose the British Restaurants did after the Second World War. Continue reading “Trans-Pennine ‘Spoons Trek: A Top Beer Not So Perfect Ten”

The Thrill of the Rhyl in Better Times

A look at the North Wales resorts in the 1980s and 1990s

With the Wakes Weeks upon us (Oldham’s starting on the 27 June, Stalybridge’s being from the 19 July), a great many of us may be in holiday mood. Today’s holidaymakers – thanks in no small part to our continued membership of the EU – think nothing of boarding a flight to Spain, Greece or Turkey. For some, as second nature as boarding a 216 bus into ‘Town’. Continue reading “The Thrill of the Rhyl in Better Times”

The Joy of 600s: A Not So Perfect Ten Special

East of the M60’s 600th post

Where did the time go? Did I used to have a life before I began blogging? To be honest I still do (how on earth do I manage to write the other 599 posts).

Right, that’s enough of the histrionics, time to go back on track…

*                            *                            *

For our 600th post, East of the M60 has devoted this to the 600 bus route. Or rather, Wigan’s 600 route and a cast of nine others. Our 600 routes are as follows:

  1. Halifax – Ovenden Way – Nursery Lane (Halifax Bus Company);
  2. Wigan – Ashton-in-Makerfield – Golborne – Leigh (Stagecoach Wigan);
  3. Erdington and Brookvale Circular (Blue Diamond);
  4. Carlisle – Wigton – Cockermouth (Stagecoach in Cumbria);
  5. Thornhill Park and Ride – Churchill Hospital (Thames Travel);
  6. Two Waters [Bus Garage] – Chaulden (Arriva Shires and Essex);
  7. Hatfield Business Park – Hatfield Railway Station (Uno);
  8. Belfast, Europa Buscentre – George Best Belfast City Airport (Translink);
  9. Bathgate – Blackburn – Whitburn Circular (Passenger Travel);
  10. Cardigan – Quay West (Cymbdeithas Cludiant Gwledig Presli Rural Transport Association).

Let’s board, tender our exact fare and enjoy the ride. Continue reading “The Joy of 600s: A Not So Perfect Ten Special”