Tour of Greater Manchester by bus
This gallery is an attempt to travel round Greater Manchester using photos from the SCT61 site. The challenge was to travel on a bus from each operator that had gone on to become part of Greater Manchester Transport. To make it a bit more demanding the buses had to be displaying the route described, only one ride per operator was allowed and the route could not backtrack.

It's been an interesting exercise - some of the operators are not well represented and have few photographs on suitable routes. One aspect the text will show is the extent of joint operation in the area, although clearly the nature of the exercise means that joint routes were more likely to be used.
The journey starts, appropriately enough, with service number 1. This was Manchester's service from Piccadilly to Gatley. This had begun as one of Manchester's express services from Gatley to Norden and was joint with Rochdale Corporation. However, pressure from the railway companies and the police caused the cross-city express services to be split and the 1 became a Piccadilly to Gatley service from 25th October 1931. The 1 became the 161 and 162 services from 19th October 1959.
From Gatley we join Stockport's service 40 which takes us (almost) into Mersey Square. The terminal point here by the viaduct which carries the A6 south out of Stockport is well photographed as a clear view of buses parked here was normally possible and the sun was in the right direction in the afternoon.
The Ashton-Hyde-Stockport corridor was jointly served by three operators, Stockport, SHMD and Ashton. The 29 was a variant that normally operated only on the peak hours and Saturdays and we use this to get from Stockport to Hyde.
The 125 was an express service which ran from Manchester along Hyde Road to Hyde and Glossop (and, after the date of this photo, to Old Glossop). Glossop was an anomaly in Greater Manchester as it was in Derbyshire but mainly served by Greater Manchester Transport from a depot there inherited from North Western. The latter company have provided our transport from Hyde and shared operation of this service with SHMD and Manchester.
From Glossop we catch a bus on the famous 6 service to Ashton, using this PD2 of Ashton Corporation. The 6 managed no less than four operators, namely Manchester, Ashton, SHMD and North Western. Sadly, traffic congestion has resulted in the complete demise of this through service.
From Ashton we catch the 9 service toward Rochdale, but we are not going all the way, instead changing onto a different service at Royton. The 9 was a joint service worked by Ashton, Oldham and Rochdale and served all three towns. It commenced 18th February 1939 once the various tram services had been abandoned along with Ashton's trolleybus service as far as Hathershaw, the boundary with Oldham. This had originally run as far as Oldham but was abandoned by Oldham after a year due to the vibration of the early trolleybuses.
In Royton we change onto the 24 service which follows the same route as the 9 to Rochdale. It is however, an express service originally worked by Yelloway but taken over in June 1944 by Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale.
We head west from Rochdale to Bury. There were two service making this link, the 19 via Jericho and the 21, which we catch, via Heywood. The service number displayed is 21T, to denote a service leaving Rochdale via Tweedale Street. Until the war service had run through to Bolton (see next stage of the trip) but was then truncated to Rochdale-Heywood, although it quickly became a Rochdale to Bury service worked by Rochdale and Bury. Bolton buses were not seen in Rochdale again.
The most difficult to operator to fit into this gallery was Ramsbottom. Not too long after SELNEC's formation the Ramsbottom fleet of Titan's was moved to Bury and the Ramsbottom depot became completely one-man. This example is parked up in Bury before working to Bolton via Breightmet on the 23T service. The T suffix had originated with Tweedale Street in Rochdale, where the service no longer ran! The service was latterly jointly worked by Bury and Bolton and for many years was subject to a weight restriction due to a bridge at Trinity Street in Bolton - Bury's 1967 PD2's were bought due to that restriction.
Bolton's 40 service takes us out to Westhoughton. I believe this service was joint with LUT.
Whilst we could have caught the Wigan bus directly from Bolton, that would not have achieved our objective. The 15 took a different route to Westhoughton, though. Again I believe this service was joint between Wigan and Bolton but haven't anything to check that with.
This shot takes us into GMT days, with the old LUT service 54 now renumbered 554. This takes us on a roundabout way (because there isn't really a direct way) to Leigh through Bickershaw, a journey lasting thirty-five minutes.
The 82 was the replacement for the South Lancashire Transport service from Bolton to Leigh (Bolton owned four trolleybuses operated by SLT which nominally worked short journeys from Bolton to Four Lane Ends). As a new road service licence was needed (since trolleybuses were licensed differently), Leigh objected to this 'new' bus service and the eventual settlement ensured that the service was jointly operated by Leigh, Bolton and LUT. It was not intended to be the last SLT trolleybus service but the licensing wrangles caused that to be the case. We catch this Loline at Leigh and take the short hop on it to Atherton.
In Atherton, by means of fourth-dimension travelling, we board this venerable SLT trolleybus for the interesting cross-country run to Worsley. The trolleybus continues to Swinton and the route carries on to Farnworth in a very indirect manner.
To complete our tour, although we will have to walk a few feet up the road to get into Manchester, we change at Worsley Court House onto this smart Salford PD1.

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