Sunday 7 April 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different

But first, it's First again ...
Friday's news from BBC Manchester:-

Replacing 40 bus services withdrawn due to "insurmountable" problems will be very difficult, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has said. Manchester Community Transport (MCT) stopped all Maytree Travel services in Bolton and Wigan on Thursday afternoon. A TfGM spokesperson said it was going to be a "tough ask" for other bus companies to fill the gaps in service. MCT, which took over Maytree last month, issued no comment on the reason for its actions.

News broke yesterday that, although many services have been suspended over the weekend, First Manchester would be operating most of the commercial and tendered routes from Monday 8th.

Maytree Travel was a bus operator based in Bolton in Greater Manchester. The company was formed in 2008 by owner Gary Hawthorne, who took over the Bolton operations of Tyrer Bus, who first starting operating in Bolton in 2007. The company had over 35 routes and ran in the Bolton and Wigan areas. Several of its services were run on behalf of Transport for Greater Manchester. On 1 March 2013, Manchester Community Transport acquired Maytree for an undisclosed figure, with Maytree becoming a trading subsidy of MCT. Despite the takeover, Maytree Travel services were suspended on 4 April 2013.
Other operators, presumably, will be handling most of the schools services. More as it happens!
But now, a juicy bit of nostalgia.

53 years ago ...
... on 8th October 1960, Sheffield's Last Tram ran. The remaining line from Beauchief to Tinsley closed to normal service around lunchtime on that Saturday, culminating in a grand (and final) parade at 1800.

The following unusual souvenir crept up through the domestic coal measures as the fbb's continued their frantic clear-up prior to a proposed down-sizing and move.
It is the menu for the celebratory dinner held that evening and it has been cut, accurately, to the shape of a tram.

There were the usual toasts and speeches ...
The Lord Mayor, Alderman Slack said his piece ...

Eric Fitzpayne brought a message of greeting from his system in Glasgow ...
... which lasted barely two more years, closing in 1962.

The formalities were closed by Alderman Dyson ...
... whose name is still spoken with reverence amongst Sheffield transport aficiandos.

There was a goodly selection of fine wines ...
... and the grub was particularly mouth-watering.
Sole "à l'Amiral" is served with shellfish ...
... usually oysters, and mushooms; Chicken Delmonico ...
... is a sophisticated version of Colonel Sanders fried fowl. Amandine potatoes, nowadays a breed of spud, was then a sort of croquette coated with the usual breadcrumbs but with the addition of slivers of almond (in French, "amande").

The evening's entertainment was enhanced by "live" music from the Transport Department Brass Band.
click on the graphic above to enlarge

Yes, way back then, the City's Transport Department employed a bandmaster of quality and performed at a number of official and social events throughout the year.

It shows something of Sheffield's civic pride that such a "farewell event" should be staged so lavishly. Was fbb present? Sadly, in October 1960, a significantly less chubby one was embarking on his second year in the sixth form and was utterly oblivious to anything to do with Sheffield; later dubbed "the funny northern place" by his mother. The memorabilia were kindly donated via the late great Marian Capel, who, for many years, ran the enquiry office in Castle Square, the "Hole in the Road".

Enquiry Office in the gloomy exit, lower right

Little did the diners imagine that, 34 years later, trams would return to the City.

But for nostalgia's sake, we close with a snippet from the commemorative film produced for that potentially last day.

 Next Bus Tram Blog : Monday 8th April 


  1. Do you think the great and the good of Manchester will be having a publicly funded beano to celebrate the cessation of operations by Maytree? Ho times change!

  2. If anyone wants to play around the Maytree, look at

  3. Hi FBB, very much enjoy your posts and as Chairman of the NTM I am always pleased when trams are mentioned so it was a pleasure to see the piece on Sheffield. I took some pictures for you today of 510's current refurbishment at Crich but I can't get to your e mail address on here. Please contact me at and I will be pleased to send you them with a piece about what is happening to the car.