The 350 came into being as a result of the major service changes in Saddleworth on 31st October 2004.
The origins go back to Ashton Corporation's 14 service, which ran from Ashton to Mossley, which became the 217 in SELNEC days.
Pennine Blue initiated competition with GM Buses on this corridor and from that came the 350 service, which ran from Ashton to Mossley and then continued across the valley to Micklehurst and Hey Farm Estate. The destination is not a huge source of traffic but does make for a convenient place to turn buses round.
The service to Hey Farm runs every ten minutes during the day on weekdays, but as part of the October 31st 2004 changes, two journeys an hour were extended to Oldham, essentially travelling the short distance from Hey Farm to the Royal George and then picking up the former 355 route.
At first the journeys to Oldham were worked by Oldham depot, with the Ashton to Hey Farm journeys operated from Dukinfield, but from 6th June 2005 all journeys were worked from Dukinfield.
That proved a blessing for the Saddleworth bus enthusiast, as Pennine had a varied fleet of vehicles, whereas the large influx of new vehicles at Oldham depot in 2005 resulted in other First services in Saddleworth seeing little variety.
From 31st August 2008 the 350 was diverted in Greenfield from Chapel Road to serve Greenfield station in conjunction with the redevelopment of the station.
When the new Mossley Hollins school opened on 2nd March 2011 certain journeys descended into the school grounds, giving much safer conditions for boarding and alighting.
A larger set of service revisions in Oldham saw, from 28th October 2012, the 350 replace the 415 as a service to Greenacres from Oldham. From Greenacres it continues to Waterhead to pick up the former route. From the same date the additional services on Sunday that ran to Greenfield were extended to Uppermill. The times changed as well to accommodate these changes but the more visible change about the same time was the introduction of the B9TL double-deckers from 24th September 2012, considerably improving the age profile of buses used on this service.
This service has seen more than its fair share of diversions, many of which are covered in this gallery. My normal policy is to put diversions at the end of a gallery, but in this case they are located at an appropriate place as you progress along the route. Sometimes that's quite difficult as the diversions were so different from the normal route!
© David Beilby