Saturday, 27 July 2013

Trip to Ashton / Stalybridge 27-07-2013


40406Ashton BSHazelhurst, nr house 14 Hazelhurst Road/Matlock Avenue38First Manchester
40406Hazelhurst, nr house 14 Hazelhurst Road/Matlock AvenueAshton BS38First Manchester
19087Ashton BSStalybridge, o/s Town Hall Waterloo Road/Market Street237Stagecoach Manchester
37454Stalybridge BSCarrbrook, opp Reservoir South View/Castle Lane348First Manchester
37388Carrbrook, opp Reservoir South View/Castle LaneAshton BS348First Manchester
40374Ashton BSHyde BS389First Manchester
19100Hyde BSAshton BS330Stagecoach Manchester

Today we decided to return to Ashton-under-Lyne. Research for today consisted of checking the Dennis Dart Forum to see which Darts wee still rnnning for First Manchester and to check the weather. The Darts in service at Ashton were 40382/384/403/406 with 40374 out of service at Oldham and 40380 on loan to Oldham. Matthew only needed 3 of the 6 First Darts in this area 40384 & 40406 were still around and 40374 didn't look likely to work. we also learned of two new ALX400 bodied Volvo's at Bury which were 30879 and 30880. The weather was for cloudy with sunny intervals, with rain later. Matthew got up around 10:30 today, and had some toast and juice for breakfast. We set off around 11:45 and went onto the A5035. We went past the Hem Heath pub and onto Stanley Matthews Way. We got onto the westbound A50 and then onto the northbound A500. Today we decided to stop on the end of the A500 to eat food from the van there. We hadn't found anywhere that did food that Matthew liked in Ashton the time before, so we decided to stop early. He had a bacon and egg sandwich with tomato sauce washed down wit a can of Coke. We got onto the Northbound M6 and there was a little traffic. It was the college holidays and the RHS show was on at Tatton Park. We the got on the Eastbound A556 which we did up to the M56. We then got on to the anti-clockwise M60 which we did up to the A6140. We came into town a different way and we accidentally missed the turn and had to turn in the road near the railway station. We the went back past the bus station before we parked near the leisure centre. As we came into town we saw required First Manchester Dart 40384 on a #331 service. We parked up and the we started to head towards the bus station. we then saw Stagecoach Manchester 22098 enter the bus station on a #317 Stockport to Ashton service.

Stagecoach Manchester 22098 in Ashton
We said goodbye to mum and we walked around the bus station to go to the toilet. As we went we spotted this Magic bus liveried ALX400, Stagecoach Manchester 17628.

Stagecoach Manchester 17628 in Ashton bus station
When we got to the betting shop we saw that it had closed down! We decided to try the bus station toilet which had never been working on our previous visits. On this occasion the door actually opened and Matthew went to use the toilet. He used the toilet but he couldn't flush because it didn't appear to have any water! We walked around the top of the bus station and we saw a First Dart on the stop for the Hazelhurst circulars. We got closer and saw that it was required first Manchester 40406.

First Manchester 40406 in Ashton bus station
We got on the bus and booked our System One bus only tickets. We sat down near the back and relaxed as we headed out of town. We passed First Manchester 40403 on the #39 circular so we knew that was one service we didn't have to cover. The jurney time each way only takes around 10-12 minutes. When we got to Hazelhurst I flashed the tickets to the driver and we came back into town. We passed 40403 again as it headed back out to Hazelhurst. When we got back we could see another Dart in the distance on the stop used by services #346 and #389 to Hyde. We waited for the bus to empty Matthew got picture inside First Manchester too.

Inside First Manchester 40406
As we got off the bus we saw the Dart pull off stand in the distance. It came past us and we saw it was required First Manchester 40384 on a #389 to Hyde. We decided to walk over to the travel shop to pick up a few timetables so we could try and head off 40384 on it's return journey. After picking up a few timetables we stood at the end of the bus station for a few minutes whilst we worked out what to do. We took a few of buses too. One such picture was of First Manchester hybrid 59011.

First Manchester 59011 in Ashton bus station
We also saw Stagecoach Manchester on a #7 Ashton to Stockport service.

Stagecoach Manchester 22218 in Ashton bus station
We worked out we could head off 40384 at Stalybridge, so we looked for a service to there. We looked at the stop and saw there was a Stagecoach Manchester double decker on a #237 to Glossop about to depart. I asked Matthew if he wanted to do this service and he said yes. So he took a picture before we went down to the bus.

Stagecoach Manchester 19087 in Ashton bus station
We went upstairs and he took a picture of the of the rear of the top deck which was empty.

Inside Stagecoach Manchester 19087
We sat down and we saw a National Holiday coach arrive in one of the adjacent stands. It was national Holidays NH04 HCH.

National Holidays NH04 HCH in Ashton bus station
The bus set off and this was quite a direct journey. it didn't take very long to get into Stalybridge. We passed the railway station and the bus station and we got off. We sat on a step whilst we worked out how much time we had. whilst we sat there we spotted First Manchester 37383 on a Aston bound #348 service.

First Manchester 37383 in Stalybridge
We saw also saw the previous #389 service heading to Aston so we knew we had 30 minutes to use. We decided to go the toilet and go and get drinks and lottery tickets. We used the toilet in Stalybridge railway station and we went to a newsagent between the railway station and the bus station. As well as lottery tickets we brought 3 cans of pop and a large Galaxy Caramel and twin pack of Milky Way. We sat down in the bus station and Matthew ate the twin Milky Way and had a bottle of cola that we had in the bag. bang on time First Manchester 40384 appeared on the #389 to Ashton. At the same time First Manchester 37454 came in on the #348 to Carrbrook on the opposite stand. Matthew decided he wanted to do 37454 instead so we got on the bus and sat down upstairs. We looked at the route on the map and we saw that it was only a short journey out of Stalybridge and it was also a frequent service, so we decided to do it to the end and wait for the next one. We went up toward Mossley and turned into the Carrbrook estate. When we got to the end Matthew waited for the top deck to empty before taking a picture inside of First Manchester 37454.

Inside First Manchester 37454
We got off the bus and we crossed the road and took a picture of the outside of First Manchester 37454 too.

First Manchester 37454 in Carrbrook
We had a few minutes to kill so we went to see Duck Island and we shared a can of Barr lemonade that we had brought in Stakybridge early. Whilst we were there a JPT bus went passed and then we heard the First bus arrive on stop. It was required First Manchester 37388.

First Manchester 37388 in Carrbrook
The bus was empty when we got on so we went straight upstairs and he got a picture of the inside of the bus too.

Inside First Manchester 37388
We sat back and enjoyed the journey into Ashton via Stalybridge. At this point we didn't hold out hope of catching up with 40384 again today as we had to be back in Ashton 17:30 when the car parking ran out. When we got to Ashton we saw First Manchester 53144 with its rear engine cover up. We thought that if we were lucky we could do a #346 to Hyde and catch up with 40384. The next #346 was going to be First Manchester 37413 as we saw it parked up at the end. Whilst we waited for it to come on stand we saw Manchester Community Transport YJ13 HLF on a #396 to Newton Heath.

MCT YJ13 HLF in Ashton bus station
5 minutes before it was due to depart, First Manchester 37413 came on stand.

First Manchester 37413 in Ashton bus station
We walked over and waited for the bus to be ready for service. For some reason the driver shut the doors and went back around. it soon became apparent that he was clearing the stand for another bus. We could see a Dart at the top end of the bus station and it looked like 40374. We didn't think this was possible, but when it pulled up we saw that it was indeed required First Manchester 40374.

First Manchester 40374 in Ashton bus station
We decided to do this instead of 37413 and we got on and sat near the back. After First Manchester 53144 failed it must have been pressed back into service. We headed off towards Stalybridge via a housing estate and then once we had passed through there we took an indirect route in Hyde too The #389 service between Ashton and Hyde takes around 40 minutes to do a journey that only takes 20 minutes on a direct service such as the #330. We got to Hyde a little after 17:00 just missing a #330 to Ashton. When the bus emptied Matthew got a picture inside this rare beast.

Inside First Manchester 40374
We also ran around the outside of the bus station and got a picture of 40375 there too.

First Manchester 40374 in Hyde bus station
Matthew walked back inside and used the toilet. We didn't have long to wait for the next #330 service, which was required Stagecoach Manchester 19100.

Stagecoach Manchester 19100 in Hyde bus station
We got on and sat upstairs. The journey back was much faster and we got to Dukinfield in around 9 minutes. We carried on into Ashton and we got there around 17:30. The bus emptied and Matthew got a picture inside Stagecoach Manchester 19100 too.

Inside Stagecoach Manchester 19100
We got off ad took another picture.

Stagecoach Manchester 19100 in Ashton bus station
In the background was what is now Matthew's last required Dart. 40384 was now on a #346 but it was time to go home. We headed back to the car and tucked into sausage rolls and drank Coke. We set off back to the M60 along the A635. When we got there we went clockwise past Stockport and ten onto the M56. Today we did the M56 to the A50 and cut onto the M6 near Lymm. We did this because we thought there would be lots of traffic on the A556 because of the RHS show. We traveled South along the M6 as we passed the A556 and there was virtually no traffic coming on! We left the M6 at junction 16 and we went down the A500 to the A50. As we left the a50 we passed Z Carz DL03 HHU. At Z Carz today there were only 2 buses. First there was LDV minibus T408 JUX.

Z Carz T408 JUX in Longton
Then there was DAF mini coach W344 WNS.

Z Carz W344 WNS in Longton
We headed into Blurton via Longton hall Road and we saw First Potteries 41500 on a #23 service. We got home around 19:00 and after looking at our pictures from today, Matthew had a late tea of bangers and mash with carrots followed by cheesecake. Matthew chilled out on his computer and went to bed around 00:30..Mark

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