Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Uncle Brian's Christmas Prezzy [2]

A very nice man (a very, very nice man) at First Leeds has kindly sent the oveweight oracle some lovely pictures of Hyperlink vehicles on service during their first week of hyper linking Leeds and Bradford. They most certainly "cut a dash".  fbb will publish one or two over the next week or so for the delectation of our loyal blog readers.
They are all (?) photographed in the Headrow area of Leeds.
Meanwhile, back to Wigan and the key question. What does Stagecoach get for its 12 million purchase of First's Wigan operation. Probably, from a future investment point of view, one of the best bits of the deal is the freehold of the new depot. The press release for the depot opening shows something of the transience of the industry today!
A new £6million depot has been opened in Wigan by First Manchester. Over 300 people are based at the site, which houses 120 buses. Dave Alexander, First UK Bus regional managing director, says: “Wigan is an important operating area for our company. This new, excellent, facility represents a multi million pound financial investment by First and shows our commitment to the safety and comfort of our staff and customers, as well as nearby residents and businesses.”
The depot was officially opened by north-western traffic commissioner Beverley Bell.

Perhaps the affable Dave Alexander may not want to be reminded of his noble words of just over a year ago; "Wigan is an important operating area for our company." But there's six million of the twelve accounted for; and you wonder how long it will be before canny Brian Souter (Sir!) flogs it off for development and gets a fair chunk of his investment back.

Historically, Wigan Corporation Transport buses covered a wide area with some jointly operated services offering inter-urban facilities to exciting places like Bolton, Manchester and even Liverpool. Bearing in mind fbb's confession of rampant ignorance of the history of public transport in the area, anything offered here must be taken with a couple of packets of Saxa's finest!

A bus forum contributor offers his memory of Wigan's Traditional routes with fbb's comments appended. Apologies for errors, however; this little bit of research has hurt the old codger's brain more than usual.

1/1A Beech Hill : see 21
2/2A Ashton in Makerfield :  First 600 
3/3A Hindley :  First 32 / 540 / 598 
4 Martland Mill Bridge : South Lancs 665 / 675
5/5A Standish : Arriva 362 to Chorley
6 ??
7 Abbey Lakes : Arriva 352 to Orrell and St Helens

8 Bleachworks : Various 638, 639, 640, 641, 642. 643
9 Norley Hall Estate : see 21
10 Bryn Stubshaw Cross :  First 600 / 610 
10A Marus Bridge : see 10, 10B, 10C
10B/10C Worsley Mesnes :  First 631 / 632 
11 Platt Bridge :  First 658 
12 Abram : Arriva 360 to Warrington
13 Bickershaw : see 12
14 New Springs : Wigan Bus, South Lancs 613 / 614 and others
15 Horwich : Arriva 715 to Bolton
715 Blue Bus, predecessors of Arriva

16 Bolton :  First 540   but different route? 
17/18 Blackrod : Arriva 575 to Bolton
19 Windy Arbour : South Lancs 633 (college days only)
20 Standish : see 5/5A and others
21 Kitt Green :  First 621 / 628 
22 Marsh Green : see 21
23 Worsley Hall Estate : see 21 and others
24 Bottling Wood :  Wigan Bus, South Lancs  624
25 Beech Hill  :  First 625 / 626 
320 Liverpool : Arriva 320 to St Helens

This has been a merry gallop through bus services in Wigan but, if nothing else, it does illustrate that First Bus is no longer the totally dominant operator within the town. Whilst the Corporation had "competition" with Lancashire United, the present situation has become confused and complex. Such have been the benefits of privatisation and deregulation. So tomorrow we need to sum up by reviewing a selection of First's services and, hooray hooray, fbb has drawn a map!

Meanwhile the interested Student of these things can peruse the two Tranport for Greater Manchester network maps that chart the greater Wigan area.
Wigan North (here)
Wigan South (here)

Beware, they are B-I-G files!

Fat Bus Blokes Bible Blog meets the snake and the apple fruit (here).

 Postscript  There are plenty of lovely juicy destination names in the Wigan Area (Bottling Wood, Windy Arbour) but this one takes the biscuit:-
The mind boggles at "Pony Dick". It was a pub (and a colliery) between Highfield and Winstanley on present day services 631, 632 and 633.
The wheelwright's shop and the Favourite Pony Dick Inn (also known as the Favourite Pony Inn and Pony Dick Inn, and earlier still The Horse and Jockey) were located where today Ribbesford Road joins Billinge Road. For many years these establishments were run by successive members of the Starkey family,whose descendants still live nearby.
Pony Dick today!
The railway track ran to the left of the bus stop.

 Next Bus Blog : Wednesday 7th November 

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