Saturday, 31 March 2012

Trip to Rochdale 31-03-2012


40677Rochdale BSLittleborough, o/s 191 Todmorden Road/Ferrand Lodge589First West Yorkshire
40675Littleborough, o/s 191 Todmorden Road/Ferrand LodgeRochdale BS589First West Yorkshire
40407Rochdale BSKirkholt, nr Open Land Baldestone Road/Hill Top Drive6First Manchester
34295Kirkholt, nr Open Land Baldestone Road/Hill Top DriveRochdale BS6First Manchester
511Rochdale BSCastleton, o/s Shops Manchester Road/Church Inn17JPT
37287Castleton, opp Church Manchester Road/Church InnRochdale, Drake Street/Fleece Street (NW-bound)17First Manchester

Today Matthew wanted to go to Rochdale. He chose this destination after last weeks trip to Bolton, pointing at the LED display of a bus that he had photographed last week. As usual a period of research was taken including asking a question on the Dennis Dart forum with regards to buses in Rochdale. With information gathered I also visited the Transport for Greater Manchester site to download timetables and maps to my phone. Also researched before we left was a place to eat. Mm found a cafe about a mile off route in Castleton called Mighty Bite. The weather was cool and cloudy, having just come out of a week of warm unseasonable weather. Today we set off around 12:20. We picked up mum's friend in Blurton and then we headed onto the A50. We headed north along the A500 and then North onto the M6. We took the motorway route via M62, M60, back onto the M62 after the ring road and then the A627(M). At the end of the road we turned left and headed into Castleton.The cafe wasn't hard to spot and after we had seen it we turned around and parked up. We ordered 2 breakfasts, a pastie and a drink and it came to £7.60. The breakfast was really nice and it set us up nicely for the day ahead. Before we left Matthew spotted a sink behind the counter, and so he insisted on photographing it! You can take the boy out of Stoke but you can't take Stoke out of the boy...We set off to Rochdale, and we parked in the town centre not far from the bus station around 14:30. We walked around the corner to the bus station and we walked up the outside taking pictures of the vehicles parked on these stands. You can get some nice pictures of buses from around these stands, but it became apparent that a lot of the interesting stuff goes from inside under the canopy. We carried on walking around the bus station and we noticed all the double deckers parked along the other side. As we walked around, 30806 arrived to join the other vehicles.

First Manchester 30806 arrives in Rochdale
We carried on walking around and the other interesting bus in this row we could photograph was 30803.

First Manchester 30803 in Rochdale
Whilst we were wondering what bus we could catch when an ALX200 Dart came into the bus station on a #589 which was 40677.

First West Yorshire 40677 arrives...
I had been told that these services were sometimes Darts and so I thought that this would be a good start to the afternoon. As it was a Halifax based bus and we had never been on any First West Yorkshire buses both the out and the back were certain to be required. Matthew was keen to do this move too and so we looked up and then waited at the relevant stand. Sure enough, just before 14:55 the bus came onto the stand. we brought our System One bus tickets which did prove a little tricky for a Halifax driver until he worked out how to do it. The journey Eastward out of town was swift. The bus emptied quickly and by the time we reached Littleborough most of the passengers from Rochdale had disembarked. We passed 66790 on the #590 service, and we had worked out that if we went just the other side of Littleborough that we would have an approx 15 minute wait. As we got off in the Gale area of town, Matthew got a better picture of this fine beast.

40677 in the Gale area of Rochdale...
With a bit of time to wait and with another bus towards Rochdale we decided to cross the road and sit on the grass until closer to the due time. The sun had now come out and it was nearly warm. We had seen that the other service the #457 was being worked by Mercs so we would be OK chilling on the grass and maybe we could even get a picture. The Merc sailed past which was if I recall correctly 60245. As we got closer to the time we crossed back over the road to wait for the #589. We could see in the distance that it was another ALX bus, and as it came closer we could see it was required 40675.

Return Power...First West Yorkshire 40675
We boarded the bus and sat near the back. It was another swift journey and bizarrely the bus also empty out as it headed into town. When we got back into the bus station Matthew took a picture of the empty ALX200 bus.

Inside 40675
As we were getting off I was sure I saw a NC double decker in the gloom of the middle stands. Matthew however spotted a Wright bodied Dart, and as it was on a #6 and I planned on covering this service I thought it was an excellent idea. No photographs of this from the bus station as we just leapt straight onto it. we set off and as we left Rochdale we passed another vehicle from this batch in the shape of 40411. The sun had gone in again and it was now quite grey overhead. As we went around the bus emptied out as you would expect. The bus didn't completely empty, but as this was a circular and there were few passengers on the bus I suggested that he took a picture of the inside of the bus at that point.

Inside First Manchester Dart 40407
We carried on a little further, and I saw a point on the route that was a nice open space so we decided to get off there. As we got off Matthew was able to get a good picture of the bus.

40407 on Balderstone Road Kirkholt
With a 10 minute frequency we knew there would be a bus quite soon, the 10 minutes passed quickly and we were both surprised and pleased to see a NC double decker coming towards us down the bank. As we had only ever been on Bury based examples of these it was bound to be required and we weren't disappointed. 34295 rolled down the back towards before coming to a stop where Matthew got his picture.

Nice surprise! First Manchester 34295
Apart from a couple of people at the front of the bus, the top deck was empty and so Matthew took a picture of the empty rear of the top deck.

Inside 34295
The journey back was quite bouncy as we returned through an estate with plenty of potholes and speed humps. We passed 40426 on another #6 circular as we headed back into town. When we got back we wondered if we could get one of the 2 NC double decker we had seen on the #17 operated by JPT and First Manchester. The First buses were low floor with some of the buses been hybrid's too. Whilst we waited for a JPT bus. Matthew got a bit hyper running up and down from stand to stand in the middle section of the bus station. We had to sit him down for a bit and we had a quick drink whilst he calmed a little. Then a JPT NC double decker bus appeared and it was JPT 511. We had to wait a few minutes before it cam on stand as it appeared to have been blocked out by on of the competing First Manchester buses. After a lap of the bus station and a bit of horn honking 511 eventually pulled up on stand C. We got on and went upstairs where Matthew got a shot of the then empty top deck.

Inside JPT 511
We did the bus to castle as we had seen them here earlier in the day and we knew the route and layout of this area of town. Just after the Co-op store we got off and Matthew got a picture of this fine beast.

JPT 511 in Castleton
It had now gone 17:00 and we knew that the next bus would be the last ride of the day. We had passed a JPT single decker before we got to Castle ton and so we knew the next bus was most likely to be First Manchester example. With both hybids and buses in the new First livery seen working this service, we saw that our bus was in standard livery. Having only been on Bury examples of these we knew it would also be required. It came closer and matthew got a picture of required 37287.

First Manchester 37287 in Castleton
As the route of the bus was going slightly closer to the car than the bus station was to the car, we decided to get off at the bottom of the hill as we got to the centre of the town. As we walked back to the car an interesting coach came to a stop across the road and Matthew got a picture of this coach.

Interesting sighting...Healings G25 WNF in Rochdale
We had a quick toilet stop before we set off home around 17:40. The sun had forced it's way out again and we had a very pleasant journey home. We saw the Almin Travel garage through the trees as we passed the Heywood area on the M62 and then we returned back via the same route as we had come. On the A500 we stopped for LPG in Longport an surprisingly the forecourt was empty. The panic buying of fuel must have slowed for the time being. Having dropped off mum's friend again, we got home a little after 19:00...Mark.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Trip to Hanley & Crewe 29-03-2012


1450Ladybank Grove BlurtonHollybush Estate BlurtonCharterWardle Transport
40155Blurton Blurton RoadHanley BS23First Potteries
2320Hanley BSHanley, adj Harding Road41Wardle Transport
2304Hanley, adj Regent CentreHanley BS41Wardle Transport
66839Hanley BSCrewe BS20First Potteries
66839Crewe BSTunstall High Street20First Potteries
40144Tunstall High StreetLongport off Longport Road99First Potteries

Today to Hanley via Crewe Matthew got up around 07:00 and waited for the #20 his usual bus These things happen..! I have covered the #99 and I also covered the #61 hard job remembering buses from the morning before I type them up later we was Wardle Transport 1450 a Mercedes 413cdi minibus.

Wardle 1450 in Blurton
Matthew did his usual around 08:00 and we also saw Wardle Transport 1626 from as this usually does a pick up of a morning on right across the path of the Hollybush Estate Blurton. was 40373 on a #23. He did it to the Blurton Blurton Road where we got off. around 09:00 he the caught the following #23 which was 40155.On #40 we saw Copelands Tours MIB 797.Seen on #40 the new vehicle at Mr Finneys home He 09:15 also we saw 42726 on a #23 service at Stoke.saw Wardle 2963 seen on the plumline. at saw 2301 on a #41. we saw 3419 seen on a #164. On arrival at Hanley he went onto the balcony. was Bakerbus 181 seen on #350 to Newport. On the #19 we saw Wardle 2532 and also had Wardle 2320 on a #41 before having 2304 back to Hanley.he went onto the balcony.saw 30029 arrive on a #25. we saw Wardle 1423 in Hanley too.saw Wardle 2534 in Seen #58 Hanley. Around 10:00 was 66839 on a #20 around 11:00 which As which was nearly dinner time is unusual,so he decided to do this to Crewe Bus Station.the When he got off we saw Arriva North West & Wales 2503 on a #84 to Chester. the #20 was 66839 Afterwards he saw 60202 on a #20 to Crewe .we saw Stanways PUI 9321 on a return service #315 so he did this as far as.early taken out this afternoon 66839 out whilst in Tunstall he visited ASDA shop. He brought some coke from there around 15:00. When he came out, Within a few minutes 40144 turned up on a Newcastle bound #99 which he did to Longport. We met mum and then went back to the car. and ate sausage rolls. We stopped at the BP garage for LPG before via Wolstanton we saw 40142 on a Newcastle service.we saw 2203. we saw 40140 was which was near the hospital.on a #22 as was 40137 Around 16:15.returning home, We then had bangers and mash for tea...Mark.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Trip to Bolton / Bury 24-03-2012


12016Tonge Fold, Bury Rd/Tonge Fold Post Office (W-bound)Bolton BS471First Manchester
37304Bolton BSBreightmet, opp Royal Bank Bury Rd/Crompton Ave561First Manchester
69175Breightmet, opp Royal Bank Bury Rd/Crompton AveMill Hill, o/s House 78 Bury New Road/Radcliffe Road561First Manchester
40350Mill Hill, opp House 82 Bury New Road/Radcliffe RoadWithins, Kentmere Road/Withins Shops (E-bound)561First Manchester
69143Top O Th Brow, Stitch Mi Lane/Newby Road (W-bound)Bolton BS507First Manchester
40356Bolton BSBolton Interchange519First Manchester
60217Bolton, Great Moor Street/Catholic Church (W-bound)Bury BS524First Manchester

Today we decided to visit Bolton. The trip had planned almost as soon as we had visited Bury last time. Matthew chose the destination Bolton, but due to one reason or another this was the first weekend we could actually do this trip. As much as I could tell, I think doing this trip was about riding on the P... LND registered Dennis Darts, the one that used to visit Bury. As this was the First time we had been to Bolton research was quite detailed. Questions were asked on the Dennis Dart Forum and timetables and maps were downloaded from both Arriva and Transport for Greater Manchester. Football fixtures were also checked and although we Knew Bolton were playing at home, we decided that this would not effect us as the Reebok Stadium is 5 mile west of the town centre. As this was one of the biggest towns we were going to visit I had a quick trip to check out the town before we made this trip. We got up on the day and it was an unseasonably bright and sunny day. With all research done we were close to setting off when I realised I didn't know where the public toilet were! Mum had a quick search online only to find out there was going to be a 'Infidels of Britain' rally and a counter protest by 'Unite Against facism' in the town centre today. As Matthew doesn't like to change his plans without a very good and obvious reason we decided to go to Bolton today anyway and risk it being trouble free. We set off a round 12:00 stopping at Longport for LPG on the way. The journey was uneventful and we reached the edge of Bolton around 13:00. We decided before that we would eat at Tonge Fold, like we had done on our last visit to Bury. So when we came off the A666 we turned right towards bury and took a journey 5 minutes up the road. We Parked up on a side street and we went to 'The Cafe' next to the Coral betting shop. We had 2 breakfasts, an omlette and sausage barm with drinks it came to a little over £11 an the food was really nice too! After eating and Matthew using the facilities we walked to the bus stop whilst mum drove off towards Bury to do some shopping. We decided to catch the first that came which we could see in the distance was going to be a bendy bus! As we had never been on a bendy bus it was going to be required. As it approached we saw it was First Manchester 12016.

Our first bend...First Manchester 12016
We purchased our system one bus only day tacikets and off we went. We filtered down to the back to get a seat. The bus was pulling away and it felt weird crossing over the bend as we walked back down the bus. We sat down and enjoyed the rest of the journey down to Bolton. As we got off Matthew got a picture of the empty inside of the bus.

"Baby's got the bends..." Inside 12016
Bolton bus station is big. It is a multi-platform island style bus station. It has over 26 stands and entrances and exits at both ends. One of the things that make it difficult to attempt to ride on selected buses from here is that you can't watch what is coming in and out of the bus station from both ends at the same time, and so you often miss seeing buses that you want until they are leaving the bus station. We saw at least 5 of the Darts Matthew likes 40340/344/350/356/358.

First Manchester 40358 getting giddy on the #562
These seem to come and go very quickly and then there seemed to be a lull in the activity for these buses. We had seen 30350 and 358 come and go on #561/2 service so we thought if we caught the next one of these we could work out were the one we wanted were in the sequence and then try and get off to catch the one we wanted. The next departure was now going to be the 14:35 #561 which when it turned up was required 37304. A bit new for our tastes but at least we could see what was going on from the top deck of this bus. As we left town we passed Arriva 2254 on a local, one of 2 full sized Dart belonging to Arriva based in Bolton.

"It's got leather seats...It's got a CD player" First 37304
Off we went, around the town centre to the North East corner and then South until we went under the railway. We then headed east and joined onto the main road to Bury. The #561 turns off this road very quickly heading Northwards towards Tonge Moor. The bus then East winding through housing estates until reaching some shops in Withins. Traveling the other way around the loop is the #562. The First bus we passed was 40350. This is one the right type but not a required bus as we had been on this one previously. The next one we passed was 40358 which was Definitely required. We decided to get off on the Bury and Bolton road and cross over for the #562 and then we would hopefully get this bus. after leaving Withins and Traveling South onto the Bolton and Bury Road, we got off and Matthew got a picture of this bus.

First Manchester 37304 is Bolton bound in Breightmet
We crossed the road to wait for the next #562. We checked the bus stop timetable and we now had around 10 minutes to wait for the 15:18 departure. Whilst we waited we saw a double decker heading into Bolton. Whilst we were looking at this an unidentified R registered Dart stormed passed us around a minute early. The rear number wasn't operational but the fact it was a dart we assumed (correctly) that it was the #562 and we had missed it! We then decided to cross the road and wait for the next #561. After a few minutes it turned up and was Volvo B7RLE 69175 which was required, albeit a little disappointing!

First Manchester 69175 in Breightmet
As we had not seen 40358 come the other way yet we decided to do this bus to the edge of town to the point on the route on which both buses travel in both directions on the street. The main street for this being Bury new Road adjacent to a new Tpyota Garage. As the back seat of the bus behind us was empty Matthew got a picture of this.

Inside 69175...
After a few minutes on the bus, as we turned onto Bury New Road we rang the bell and got off. We got off the bus and crossed the road. The First bus that we saw was 37304 returning from Bolton on a #562. This must mean that the buses swap directions after every turn. The we saw 40371 heading into bolton, which we decided must have been the unidentified bus we had missed earlier on the #562. The next bus was 40350 on a #561 which we decided to catch.

Outward bound...First Manchester 40350 on a #561
If we had crossed the road the next bus would have been 40358! I had finally worked it out. Each bus takes a little over 40 minutes to complete a circular and then it goes out in the opposite direction. Five buses are required for this service and we had seen all five. As we didn't want to get off and wait around for 40358 we decided to go a different way. Uncle Dave had noticed that the #561/2 route came close to the #507 route in Withins and so we decided to come back this way. Previously I had seen a Dart on the #507 so I thought we might get something interesting. We past 37304 as we passed through the estate and as we reached the shops we got off and Matthew got another picture of 40350.

40350 in Withins
Whilst we were there we checked if any of the local shops did lottery of which they didn't, so we set off on the short walk to Top o Th Brow. In this fine March fresh air the walk seemed very pleasant and the air seemed much cleaner than the air back in Stoke. We arrived at the bus stop to find we had a five minute wait for the bus. The wait went quickly and a little more disappoint as another Volvo appeared. It was required 69143.

Top o Th Brow..First Manchester 69143 on a #507
The journey back was very pleasant even if on a slightly displeasing bus. We passed another First Volvo as well as a Arriva MPD on one of their locals. At this point texts were exchanged with mum so that we could work out timing to get back to meet her at Bury. As we came back into town we passed the Arriva Garage and the we passed the other arriva long dart in service at Bolton (7552 I think...). We got off and then we had to work out how we were going to get to Bury. We had a look around and the only old Dart in service in the bus station was 40356. this was about to go out on a #519 to Johnson Fold. We walked around to the stops (E-H) but Matthew took us back to 40356 and sat down by the stop. The driver got on a and so did Matthew! I think he decided that he wasn't going to leave Bolton without having another of the older Darts before leaving town.

First Manchester 40356 on a #519
Matthew took a picture of the inside of the bus, pointing the camera away from the lady passenger sitting to the right of the bus.

Check it out...Inside 40356...
Another passenger was a little concerned for Matthew, I think he thought we might have been trying to abduct him (this happens all the time). As I knew Matthew was determined to do this bus I tried to ask the bus driver which direction the bus was traveling so we could do it a short distance before heading to Bury. The drivers first language wasn't English so I don't think he really understood what we wanted to do. The lady passenger asked me where we were heading and then she advised me that the bus was going to the Interchange by the railway station and that we could get a bus to bury from around the corner. So we booked to the interchange and got on properly. he gentleman sitting with Matthew (friendly but slightly drunk) was talking to Matthew and trying to have a conversation . He said he would pay from him to "fly out to America..", but I explained to him Matthew would not going on a plane and hasn't been on one since he was very young. We left the bus and goodbye to the gentleman at the interchange and got another picture of this fine but unrequired bus.

40356 at Bolton Interchange
We took a few pictures at the interchange before setting of back around the corner for the Bury stop. We saw a lottery shop on the way and we also purchased some sweets and pop. Matthew said a 'hello' to someone, and we went to the stop. We had seen Merc 60247 in the bus station on a #524, but the next bus to round the corner was a Scania on a #524. It was required 60217 and much preferred over the Merc.The journey back was very swift. We passed through Little Lever and then into the more familiar Radcliffe. In Radcliffe bus station we overtook 60247 and thus ensued a bit of a duel back to Bury. 60247 passed us at the bottom of Manchester Road and we overtook it again before we reached the top. We passed a crowd around Gigg Lane but strangely Bury were playing away. Unusually every bus we passed in the opposite direction was either a Scania or a Merc. We saw no double deckers on this service today.

Inside First Manchester 60217...
We arrived back at the bus station in bury where mum was waiting for us as arranged on the phone. We got back in the car around 17:30 ate the sausage rolls mum had fetched for us. We could just pick up Radio Stoke on the radio. We listened to the First half of the Stoke vs Manchester City game and went straight down the M6 to Junction 15 to avoid the football game. We got home around 18:40 just as it was going dark. Incidentally the Stoke game ended 1-1 after Peter Crouch scored what could be the goal of the season! Surprisingly Bolton won too. It was a good day out and maybe we'll do this trip again...Mark

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Trip to Bucknall 22-03-2012


1450Heron Cross Duke StreetBucknall Newhouse RoadCharterWardle Transport
NIL 3944Bucknall Newhouse RoadNewcastle Adventure PlaygroundCharterProcters
NIL 3944Newcastle Adventure PlaygroundBucknall Newhouse RoadCharterProcters
1450Bucknall Newhouse RoadLadybank Grove BlurtonCharterWardle Transport

Today was a normal college day. Matthew went to college around 08:00 on his usual bus from respite. It He got a picture of this before he got on it. It was Wardle Transport 1450.

Wardle 1450 in Heron Cross
He arrived around 09:00. When he got there he was informed that he would be going out for the morning. The coach was going to be one was Procters NIL 3944. Whilst at college Walk seats 54-57 meaning that this would a different to coach to the ones we had previously had, and therefore Matthew would be traveling a different vehicle. Planning for the trip consisted of looking at which bus tickets we could purchase and printing up section of the transport map of Bucknall. Initial plans of the trip we drove to coach Seat 57. They went to Newcastle and back on later were to travel away from Bucknall into areas that we knew a little about. So I printed information on buses in the Newcastle direction. The coach was a Van Hool one. On the day 12:01 he returned back to college for dinner which included some cake. He saw 1455 and also 1450. he caught bus via Fenton and 30031 was on the 22 that day. He saw Wardle Transport 1421 he returned home on Wardle Transport 1450.

Wardle 1450 in Blurton
He was also able to get a second picture of this bus.

Another picture of 1450 in Blurton
He then went home before going out for a meal from MacDonalds. A chicken Nugget meal and a plain cheesburger. His usual bedtime was around 23:00...Mark

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

trip to Jackson's Nursery 20-03-2012


1450Heron CrossAbbey HultonCharterWardle Transport
P836 LVTAbbey HultonJacksons NurseryCharterBlackfriars
P836 LVTJacksons NurseryAbbey hultonCharterBlackfriars
1455Bucknall Newhouse RoadBucknall Rd, HanleyCharterWardle Transport
1450Bucknall, adj Traffic LightsHeron CrossCharterWardle Transport

Today was planned as a trip to Shrewsbury, but this was changed to a trip to Jacksons Nursery. Matthew was in respite. he would have got up early around 05:00 to get ready at 07:00 to go to the shop before college. Around 08:00, whilst waiting for his bus, Matthew saw Wardle Transport 1626 appeared on another transport.

Wardle 1626 in Heron Cross
Shortly afterwards around 08:55 Matthew's usual bus turned up and it 09:26 he had a different driver than usual. His bus was Wardle Transport 1450.

Wardle 1450 in Heron Cross
Matthew arrived at college around 09:00. At college Matthew was going out on a day trip to Jacksons Nursery. He left around 10:00 and the bus to Jackson's Nursery was 12:00 required P836 LVT. He arrived at Matthew Jackson's about 30 minutes later.This Step entranced vehicle is a 16 seat minibus. While out he saw Copeland's Tours MIB 246. Matthew had a breakfast and drink a chocolate cake for afters at Jackson's. He had a quick toilet stop before returning back to college on P836 LVT. They seto off towards college at 14:00 arriving back 30 minutes later. At the end of college Matthew returned to his respite. It was Wardle Transport 1455 to Bucknall Road, and then was Wardle Transport 1450 his usual bus from Leek Road to Joiners Square. They stopped at the Co-op for cake and pop. The next bus was Wardle Transport 1648 from Joiners Square to Fenton and then it was Wardle Transport 1649 from Fenton to Heron Cross. He would have arrived just after 16:00 off his bus and then got ready for his tea. Afterwards he had a bath and then would get ready for bedtime..Mark.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Trip to Sandbach 17-03-2012


4156Sandbach CommonWharton, opp Wharton Gardens37Arriva NW&W
2611Wharton, nr Wharton GardensWinsford, Town Bridge (W-bound)31AArriva NW&W
2613Winsford, Town Bridge (W-bound)Sandbach, o/s Common37Arriva NW&W
2613Sandbach, o/s CommonElworth nr railway station37Arriva NW&W
3334Elworth adj railway stationSandbach o/s Common37Arriva NW&W

Today we decided it was a local-ish trip as mum had a busy weekend. As such when asked for a local destination Matthew chose Sandbach. No research was done or need for this trip apart from to look up on the Internet the location of a cafe in Sandbach. We set off a round 12:30 going up the A500 and onto the M6. we then came off at the next junction and we arrived on he common a few minutes before 13:00. We arrived in time to see the 13:00 #38 departure to Crewe which was 4491. We also saw 2613 arrive in the common on a #37 and then go out of service. We then walked to the cafe we had found on the Internet. Sally's cafe is situated on Green Street which is almost directly opposite the Market entrance. For breakfast/dinner we had 2 breakfasts, a sausage sandwich and a bacon sandwich. With drinks it came to around £15 for the 4 of us. Whilst we waited for the food I went to the cash machine and saw 2615 on a Crewe bound #37. The cafe was quite busy and we did not get out until just before 14:00. We saw the next #38 to Crewe which was 4490. The next bus was was the #319 Goostrey circular which was GHA S290 AOX

GHA S280 AOX on a #319
We also saw D&G 66 on a Scholar Green bound #78 service.

D&G 66 on Sandbach Common
Around 14:08 as booked Arriva NW&W 4156 appeared on the common. It was not required as we had been on this bus last week but Matthew seemed very pleased to see this bus on our service.

Arriva NW&W 4156 on Sandbach Common
As we got on Matthew took a picture of the empty top deck of 4156.

Inside 4156
Whilst we waited for time we saw 4491 return on the Macclesfield bound #38. We set of dead on time and headed North. Past the railway station and along the section of the road by the canal. As we turned into the housing estate we passed 2608 on a Crewe bound #37. We must have been going quite well as we sat by the Bullring in Middlewich for a couple of minutes before continuing on towards Winsford. as we approached the Brighton Belle we passed the next #37 to Sandbach which was 3330. It was now getting very overcast and it was starting to rain. As we went up Winsford High street we passed 3348 on a Northwich bound #31A service. As we went back down we saw D&G 41 on the #81 Chester service. We were now wondering where to get off to catch the bus back. last week we had got off as we turned into Wharton. As we turned this corner we passed the next #37 right on the corner and this meant that we would have to go further North. as we approached the Wharton Gardens area I thought that if there was a shelter for the Southbound service then we would get off there. As we turned the corner we spotted a shelter so we rang the bell and went down stairs. We got off in a torrential downpour and we got pictures of this fine bus in the rain.

4156 in a very wet Wharton Gardens
We crossed the road and waited in the shelter for the next Southbound service. A quick consult of the bus stop timetable told us that there was a #31A in about 5 minutes. The sun came out again and time passed quickly. Before we knew it, we saw an unidentified Centro approaching. It was almost certainly required as we had only been on one of these buses (three times!). As it got closer we could see it was required 2611.

Arriva NW&W 2611 in Wharton Gardens
We got on the bus and headed back towards Winsford. I consulted the electronic #37 timetable and we knew there was a sandbach bound #37 about 15 minutes behind us. We decided to get off at the bottom of Winsford High Street just in case the sandbach bus was better than what we were on. 2611 was making very strange noises as it went along. It kind of made an intermittent 'fzzzzt' noise as it accelerated away. on the Corner of Wharton Road we passed a Northbound #31 which was 2501. we also saw minibus P837 LVT. We got off at the bottom of the High Street as planned and Matthew got another picture of 2611.

2611 on High Street Winsford
We now had a 15 minute wait in which we would see another Northbound #37. This turned out to be 2615 which I saw earlier in Sandbach. The time past quickly and before we knew it we saw another Centro approaching. It was required 2613.

Arriva NW&W 2613 on High Street Winsford
As we headed back towards Sandbach the First bus we passed was 3330 on Station Road. We asked Matthew if he wanted to get off for required 2608 and to go back catch the unknown bus behind us, or to carry on to Sandbach with 2613 and then go back to Sandbach railway station to pick up the unknown bus behind us. Matthew chose to carry on to Sandbach ans so we did. We passed 2608 on the corner of the estate in almost the same position as we passed it going the other way. We then had the run in to Sandbach. As we got off, Matthew took a picture of the empty 2613.

Inside 2613
Whilst in town we paid a quick visit to the facilities by the Market. We also saw the other Macclesfield turn which was 4489.

Arriva NW&W 4489 on Sandbach Common
We then saw D&G 64 on a Nantwich bound 78.

D&G 64 on Sandbach Common
We got back on 2613 and sett off around 16:17 towards the railway station. We got off and crossed the road to wait for the return service. As it approached we could see it was a millennium fleet double decker. As it approached we saw it was required 3334

Arriva NW&W 3334 by Sandbach railway station
We got on and Matthew took a picture of the empty top deck.

Inside 3334
A quick journey, we then arrived in Sandbach. Matthew got a picture of the bus before it departed towards Crewe

3334 on Sandbach Common
We then went back to the car for sausage rolls and drinks. The route back was along the A534 towards Crewe. We then went through Haslngton and along the #20 route towards Alsger. We turned off past Radway Green before joining the A500 at the M6 Junction 16 roundabout. Stopping in Longport for LPG, we then went to Longton so Matthew could look at the King Street Total petrol station before retuning home.we saw Lightning Travel S298 JOB in Heron Cross and we got home around 17:40...Mark.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Trip to Northwich / Sandbach 10-03-2012


4156Northwich InterchangeMiddlewich, o/s Cheshire Cheese37Arriva NW&W
2619Middlewich, opp Cheshire CheeseWharton, nr Wharton Road37Arriva NW&W
3329Wharton, Wharton Road (cnr)Sandbach, o/s Common37Arriva NW&W
3329Sandbach, o/s CommonElworth nr railway station37Arriva NW&W
3348Elworth adj railway stationSandbach o/s Common37Arriva NW&W

This week we gave Matthew a choice of some of our usual destinations and unexpectedly Matthew chose Northwich. As I wanted to try and get the best out of the trip I asked a question on the Dennis Dart Forum as to the best services to ride on Arriva Marshall Darts and double deckers in Northwich. After getting advice I downloaded most of the local timetables onto my hone along with the Nortwich and Winsford bus map as supplied by Cheshire West and Cheshire council website. We set off a little after 12:00 today. It was a fine sunny day, quite warm for the beginning of March. we picked up mum's friend on the way and we stopped for dinner at the Country Kitchen food van which is situated in Middlewich. Having filled up with food and drink we headed North to Northwich. On the way in we passed Arriva NW&W 2500 on the 13:30 #37 to Crewe & a Network Warrington bus. Having parked up in town we walk down past the buses on stand. The first bus we saw was Arriva NW&W 7644 on a #1 service.

Arriva NW&W 7644 in Northwich
There was also a #82 to Chester too, which was GHA ALX200 P804 NJN.

GHA P804 NJN in Northwich
We then went to use the facilities. By the time we got back the Network Warrington bus appeared on stand, and it was number 59.

Network Warrington 59 in Northwich
Just as we took the picture we turned and saw a double decker on stand on the #37. Closer inspection revealed it was Arriva NW&W 4156 which was required. I asked Matthew if that was the bus he wanted to do and he said "yes".

Arriva NW&W 4156 in Northwich
We got on board and we then had around 10 minutes to wait before it was due off at 14:00. I decided it was a good plan to do the bus South as far as we could until we passed something interesting, and then we could double back and then do the bus further South. On stand it appeared that many of the locals today were Plaxton Centros. We only saw one MPD Dart and that was Arriva NW&W 862. We set off on time and we wondered were e would pass the first bus coming the other way. I expected to pass a bus coming the other way after 10 minutes and then evry 15 minutes therafter. The first bus we passed must have been on part of the route where the bus goes along different streets in different directions as we did not pass a #37 for nearly 25 minutes. In the Wharton area we passed a Centro on a #31 and then immediately afterward we saw 3348 heading North. This was a required bus, so we decided we would work out how to get this bus in. I estimated that the bus would be on the 16:00 from Northwich to Sandbach. I worked out that we could go to just the other side of Middlewich and then we would be on the last unknown bus that followed 2500 down on the 13:00 Northwich to Sandbach. Having gone through Winsford, we climb up Station road toward Middlewich and we passed another #37. It was another required Northern Counties bodied double decker 3349. This changed thing for us as it meant we would have to keep going towards Sandbach if we were to get the best buses in. We apssed through Middlewich and we decided to get off on the A533 as it left town. We spotted 2 stops virtually opposite each other and so we got off outside the Cheshire Cheese pub where Matthew got another picture of this fine beast.

4156 on the outskirts of Middlewich
We crossed the road and waited for the bus. We only had to wait round 5 minutes and the bus appeared. It was a Centro so there was a good chance it was going to be a required bus as we had only had one of these buses previously. As it got closer we could see it was 2619.

Arriva NW&W 2619 on the outskirts of Middlewich
We got on the bus and I had a quick check of the buses I have traveled on page. It was the same bus as we had been on twice before so it was not required :-(. I had worked out that we could go to just the other side of Winsford and then I hoped to pic up 3348 on a Sandbach service, which we could then do back to the station and pick up 3349 on the following bus. Somewhere between Middlewich and Winsford we passed a Centro on the next #37. As we passed through Winsford I called up mum and arranged to meet her in Sandbach around 16:30. as we went down the bank towards Wharton we saw required 3334 on a #31 service. We climbed the hill out of Winsford towards Wharton, and when we turned into the estate we got off to wait for what we hoped would be 3348.

2619 in Wharton
After around 5 minutes we could see a bus approaching but it was not a Northern Counties double decker. As it approached we could see it was dud 3329.

Arriva NW&W 3329 in Wharton
It turns out the buses on the #37's must do a short on a #29 in between #37's at Northwich adding an extra bus into the circuit. At least we know this for future reference. On the bus Matthew took a picture of the inside of the bus.

Inside 3329
We headed South back through Winsford and around town, The only problem with covering the #37's around Winsford is that you feel like you are going round in circles! We then made a quick journey to Sandbach where we able to get picture of this bus in the late afternoon sun.

3329 on Sandbach Common
We now knew we would be almost certainly going back to Sandbach station to pick up 3348, but this would mean we would get 3349 in today. We had a short layover in Sandbach Common in which we saw 4489 on a Macclesfield bound #38

Arriva NW&W 4489 on Sandbach Common
After around 5 minutes the driver let everyone on and we went back up onto the top deck. We set off on time towards the Station and the journey to the station was quick. As we got off Matthew got another picture of this bus.

3329 by Sandbach railway station
We crossed the road and we had a 5 minutes to wait for the return bus, and it was indeed 3348 as hoped and predicted (eventually...!)>

Arriva NW&W 3348 by Sandbach railway station
We went upstairs of course and Matthew took a picture of the top deck.

Inside 3348
The return journey was uneventful albeit the strange noise which the engine of this bus makes. There was a very strange wooshing sound coming from the engin as the bus accelerated away from stops. We got to the Common at Sandbach and then we were able to take a couple of great pictures of this bus.

3348 on Sandbach Common
I phoned mum to see were she was and she was just leaving Middlewich heading in our direction. Whilst we waited for mum we went to use the facilities in town. As we got back to the Common we saw 2614 which we must have passed early on the next Northwich bound #37.

Arriva NW&W 2614 on Sandbach Common
We also saw 4490 on another Macclesfield bound #38. Mum arrived and Matthew tucked in to a sausage roll as I went to fetch some lottery tickets. As we left town we passed Bakerbus 180 on a X38 service. We went home via Rode Heath and past Caudwell Tavern before joining onto the A34 at Talke. We then got onto the Southbound A500 and dropped off mum's friend around 17:30. After a quick stop to out air in the tyres we got home around 18:00...Mark