All Night Long Advent Calendar image

Greater Manchester’s Most Shocking Bus Service Changes Since 1986: The Not So Perfect Ten

A look at the service changes that have shaken our city region’s bus network forever

We are now 35 years into what Andy Burnham called The Free Market Experiment.  As with any free market experiment, there is a smaller number of winners than losers.  Before the first lockdown, having a bus company and a rail franchise was a licence to print money for some operators.  

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In Praise of Superman: A Cheesy Tunes Special

The understated genius of Black Lace’s party anthem

Once upon a time forty years ago, the son of Enrico and a mate of his wrote a cheesy tune called Gioca Jouer. The songwriters, Claudio Simonetti and Claudio Cecchetto (the former being Enrico’s son) did pretty well with their tune. It was used as the opening theme for that year’s Sanremo Music Festival and a smash in their home country, Italy.

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Run to the Hills 2021: A Go Cheapway Update

Hillside views a bus, train or tram ride, or quick walk away

Since our original 2014 article, we have decided to create an updated version. In the last seven years, bus routes and operators have come and gone, and your author’s knowledge of the hills has improved since then.

Was it really seven years since we first wrote this piece? Back then, we had some great weather. Seven years on, the last month has seen some fantastic weather for picnicking or admiring rural views. Since the first COVID-19 lockdown, many people have taken to the hills instead of the shopping centres.

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Yorkshire Tiger bus, Holmfirth

Transdev Takes Over Yorkshire Tiger

Arriva UK bus sells West Yorkshire operator to Transdev Blazefield

This Summer, there will be a change of ownership for Yorkshire Tiger. It was announced today [Thursday 15 April 2021] that Arriva UK Bus have decided to sell their Yorkshire Tiger operation to Transdev Blazefield. The sale includes its two depots in Elland and Waterloo and 61 buses.

All but two routes, the 231 and 232, will be transferred to Alex Hornby’s company. These routes between Huddersfield and Wakefield (via Emley Moor) will be part of Arriva Yorkshire. The move will also affect 163 drivers, engineers, cleaners and support staff.

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Can You Have a Full Yorkshire Picnic?

Feast of the M60 asks if you can have an all-Yorkshire picnic

With relatives on both sides of the Pennines, I could claim dual nationality status if in the unlikely event that Yorkshire secedes from Westminster rule. Thanks to the lockdown and yours truly not having left Greater Manchester since then, a strange thought occurred to me: “Could you have an all-Yorkshire picnic?”

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Mass Brass IV image

Mass Brass IV: The Review (Uppermill Civic Hall, 07 March 2020)

120+ reasons why Mass Brass IV delivered and entertained its audience

Last Saturday (07 March), over 120 brass band players, plus families and spectators descended on Uppermill Civic Hall for what was Saddleworth’s biggest night in the brass banding calendar. Like previous Mass Brass nights, the four bands gave us yet another great concert.

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Mass Brass IV advert

Mass Brass IV: Saddleworth’s Brass Banding Bonanza Goes Forth

May the fourth Mass Brass be with you on Saturday

Once upon a time, in a part of Saddleworth far far away, an enterprising brass band hit upon the idea of a concert featuring themselves and three other brass bands. Three others from the Saddleworth area, from Junction 22 of the M62 right down to Well I’Th’ Hole Road, thought it was a good idea.

Come the 2017th year of our Lord, the initial concert was a success. So much so there was another the year after. Then another. And another one… The one-off event spawned a monster and – like a certain Science Fiction film franchise – could spring several spin-offs and sequels.

Was the first Mass Brass event really three concerts ago? This year sees the fourth Mass Brass concert. As well as Boarshurst Silver Band, there are (as usual) three other bands from the Saddleworth area.

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Northern Nationalised: Franchise Transfers from Arriva Rail North to DfT

Northern franchise taken over by DfT as Operator of Last Resort from the 01 March

After several rumours and persistent lobbying by Northern English political figures in the last six months, it was announced today that Arriva lost its Northern rail franchise. Under the Anglo-German company’s tenure, the rail franchise was dogged by poor service, delayed rolling stock deliveries and gross overcrowding.

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Stalybridge Station, Yorkshire platform and Buffet Bar

Tameside Train Timetable Changes, 15 December 2019

Stalybridge sees restoration of Liverpool to Scarborough express service

From Sunday [15 December], Stalybridge will regain its direct link with Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough. Before May 2018, Stalybridge station was served by an hourly service from Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough via Warrington Central and York. Since the infamous May 2018 timetable changes, this was discontinued with the service being partially replaced by two skip-stop trains from Manchester Piccadilly.

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Hebden Bridge Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club (20 October 2019)

Brindle’s Boarshurst début marked by a superb concert

With the nights getting longer and the days getting colder, the warmest of receptions were reserved for Hebden Bridge Band at the Boarshurst Band Club. With their first choice Musical Director David Hamilton in Norwich last night, the baton was passed on to Gareth Brindle. For the former Rainford Musical Director, his first ever visit to Boarshurst Band Club was a most memorable one.

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