A service was introduced from Oldham to Halifax on 15th April 1927. This was operated by Oldham Corporation and North Western and in agreement with Halifax Corporation. The initial service ran every 90 minutes but this may have been reduced for the winter as there is a record of a complaint about the reduced winter service.
Oldham ceased operation following the approval on 26th July 1928 of a Heads of Agreement with North Western whereby Oldham’s operation would be restricted to a local service from Oldham to Denshaw (see the history of the H, 6 and other services for the full story).
To counteract the competition from Ripponden and District (see separate history) North Western extended the service to Manchester Lower Mosley Street on 15th May 1929. It was extended to Bradford on 13th July 1929 and Yorkshire Woollen District became a joint operator from 14th October that same year.
The original service ran every two hours and initial traffic development was that it became hourly in Saturdays, at least in the summer. By the late ‘thirties, no doubt helped by the take-over of the Ripponden and District service, it had become hourly during the week and half-hourly on Saturdays.
The service was one of the few express services to continue to operate during the war, probably a reflection of the fact that it provided links that that would otherwise be completely lost and it was the only service in the (admittedly very rural) stretch from Denshaw to Rishworth.
The service pattern after the war was generally hourly every day of the week, with later starting times on Sundays. For much of the time on Mondays to Fridays alternate journeys only ran to or from Halifax rather than Bradford. In the late ‘sixties the Sunday service started to be reduced which can be seen as the beginning of the decline of this route. From 5th February 1972 the service ran two-hourly to Bradford, except on Saturdays when it was hourly and the Halifax short workings ceased.
From the late ‘sixties onwards the route was to see a major upheaval in the operators as a consequence of the 1968 Transport Act. This led to the formation of, inter alia, the National Bus Company and PTEs. Both these aspects made an impact on the X12 and it is simpler to trace the evolution of the two operators separately.
Following the formation of SELNEC PTE in 1969 and passing of service within Greater Manchester to the PTE the remainder of North Western was not really a workable company and the services were dispersed to other adjacent NBC companies. North Western survived as a small operator of Express services based in Manchester and vehicles received the standard NBC white coach livery although this operation was now under the management of Ribble. In 1973 the X12 was deemed to be a local express service and was transferred from National Travel (who were seen as operators of long-distance coach services and holiday tours) to Ribble.
On 2nd May 1970 Hebble took over operation of the X12 from Yorkshire Woollen District as part of the rationalisation of National Bus Company operations in West Yorkshire. The sudden expansion of the Hebble fleet (it virtually doubled in size) brought in many vehicles from the Yorkshire Woollen fleet and some of these can be seen in this collection. However, the Hebble phase was short-lived, with operation returning to Yorkshire Woollen District on 1st March 1971. It would appear that for some reason the service was actually operated by West Riding, but the vehicles and crews came from the Yorkshire's Heckmondwike Beck Lane depot. The whole picture was confused by the regular use of a batch of Leopards which started with Yorkshire Woollen, were transferred to Hebble, later moved to West Riding and were then allocated to Heckmondwike for express work!
The last journeys departed from Manchester’s Lower Mosley Street Bus Station on 13th May 1973, after which it closed, with services being transferred to Chorlton Street. Only a week later, the former North Western bus station on Clegg Street in Oldham closed by SELNEC, however the National Express travel shop remained open and express services continued to call there until May 1974, when the X12 was moved to the Yelloway coach station at Mumps. Later, in Bradford, the terminal point moved from the bus station at Chester Street to the new Interchange at Hall Ings when that facility opened on 27th March 1977.
The last journey on the X12 ran on 7th November 1980, driven by David Waymann. It was replaced by an extension of the local 223 and 224 Leeds to Halifax services operated by Yorkshire Woollen District (q.v.).
However, the X12 made a brief return appearance, as in October 1985 a new X12 replaced the 223/224. Still running in May 1986 it had been replaced by a short-lived extension of the 561 by August 1986. From 26th October 1986 Yelloway started to operate the new 556 which then provided the service between Oldham and Halifax (see separate collection).
© David Beilby