Thursday 24 September 2020

The Long Reach plus An Aside

 A Railway Aside

In yesterdays blog fbb mentioned to link between Manchester Exchange station (in Salford) and Manchester Victoria Station (in Manchester) the River Irwell forming the boundary.

Lower left is Manchester Cathedral and the former Exchange Station access road bridging the river and to the right the dome of Manchester Arena and the new "bubble" roof over most of the Victoria platforms.

The new roof is where Victoria's terminus platforms were situated; in various articles numbered 4 to 10 or 6 to 10 but presumably at one time 1 to 10

The platforms at Victoria used to be a bit of a dump!

Only two big-train bay platforms remain, with the rest of the space taken up with car parking and Metro stops.
Back in the day, the first through platform you met at Victoria was No 11. Hold that fact as we look at an aerial view of the two stations.
Manchester Cathedral and the roof of Exchange are on the right, the main station frontage of Victoria on the left. Between the two is a covered walkway which forms the link between the two stations creating one single platform face of about half a mile in length.

So we start on Platform 3 at Exchange ...

... and we keep walking. Soon the sign says Platform 11 ...
... and we are in Victoria Station, trotting happily along the covered way.
With the obliteration of Exchange and a complete rebuild of the platforms at Victoria, the old 11 ...
... became a re-aligned and rebuilt 3 in the "new" Victoria. Here we look towards the old route through to Exchange; walkway and second station having long been expunged from history.

And So To Glossop Via The Long Reach

fbb would NOT advise his blog-chums to lie in bed of an evening and read this excellent book (The Long Reach) like a novel. It doesn't work like that, or, at least, it didn't work like that for fbb. Your chubby author found that each chapter sent him off onto all sorts of further research, similar to the exploration of Victoria and Exchange stations above.

Each chapter deals with a "spoke" of services operated, pre PTE, on joint service agreements between Manchester and Salford municipal buses and a variety of other operators.

Chapters 6 and 7 deal with services to the east along the Hyde Road. Standard format is to provide a simplified map.

This is showing the historic route network, ably described in the text. Rather than re-tell a complicated story for which you can buy the book and read it for yourself, fbb will just glance through Chapter 7 which covers developments from Hyde on to Glossop.

Hattersley was a Manchester overspill estate, covered by joint route 211 ...
... and author Martin Arthur tells of the chaos at the turning circle for the 211, in the loony times of post privatisation competition ...
... was stormed by as many as 12 vehicles of assorted origins and vintages an hour.
The competition did not last, so nowadays a simple half hourly 201 service from Stagecoach suffices.
Needless to say, Hattersley was not designed in favour of buses, so the 211/201 ran round the edge of the estate ...
via Hattersley Road before nipping along John Kennedy Road to that turning circle.
Other roads have had a hotch-potch of "local" services as here from 2012 operated by First Bus (remember them?)
The current "local" is the 341 ...
... performing a half-hearted mop up of the bits that really ought to have a bus to Manchester but operators choose not to run anything commercial.
The 341 is operated by Stotts of Oldham.
It also joins the 394 at Gamesley ...
... a minimalist offering from High Peak.
Gamesley is another piece of Manchester overspill which, unlike Hattersley, has never had a bus service to the city centre.
Well it wouldn't have; as Gamesley is in D*rbysh*r* who wouldn't want to pay any contribution to buses to the dark Satanic mills of Cottonopolis. As a quid pro quo (sans any quids!) Manchester wouldn't want to offer anything for buses across the border in the depths darkest Derbys.

Of course, until April this year, you could have tottered through an old farm track ...
... to Dinting Vale whence you could have caught a 236 (formerly 6) into city.
But that option has now gone.

It is good to see all concerned working together to encourage the use of public transport.

So this is what The Long Reach does for fbb. It lures him into all sorts of bus byways and transport tryways; it opens up a whole new area of fascination and cerebellum stimulation for an aged brain.


A few more byways tomorrow - with a health warning. The fbbs are having a day out today (Shock horror! Of course socially distanced, full PPE, and buckets of sanitiser. **) meeting a couple of chums who are holidaying in Somerset. The halfway meeting point is Hestercombe Gardens near Taunton ...
... which looks rather splendid.

It will be a long day, so tomorrow's blog may need to be reduced a little in scope, depending on how much stomping around the borders and sniffing the gorgeous displays of monosodium glutamatas may be required!

** Actually no need to worry now as Boris and chums have decided that the virus is largely inactive until 10pm (2200 in real money) ...
... after which it becomes lethal.

 Next Long Reach Short Dips blog : Friday 25th Sept 


  1. The references to Salford in the last few blogs have reminded me of another quirk arising from the city's position adjacent to Manchester - there isn't and never has been any such thing as Salford city centre. Is Salford unique among UK cities in that its name never traditionally appeared on bus destination blinds? It does now but this is a recent development, perhaps over the last 15-20 years, and in this context it refers to the shopping centre in the Pendleton area of the city, once known as Salford Precinct. Historically inter-urban buses terminating in the city at Greengate or Victoria would either have shown 'Victoria' or 'Manchester' - never 'Salford'.

  2. FBB having yet another unnecessary dig without doing his research. Dinting Vale is still served by the 237 which runs from Glossop to Ashton every 20 minutes (previously twice per hour) - an improvement since the 236 left us.

    The 237 turns right in the photo above turning into Newshaw Lane roughly where the first white car is in the photo of Dinting Vale. It runs via Hadfield and Tintwistle - a longer way round but via more chimney pots so picking more people up so probably more sustainable in the long run. The alternative stop to the shelter in the photo is just off camera to the right after the bus has turned into Newshaw Lane.

    Not got a copy of 'The Long Reach' myself but an acquaintance has and its excellent. Oh and I'm fairly sure the 237 is covered in the book FBB!