Railway Replacement bus services are a relatively new phenomenon. Memory tells us that in the good old days the railways kept running, but it is more likely that the less frequent services combined with greater variety of alternative routes meant that when the trains were not able to run, the service was simply suspended if it wasn’t diverted.
The local train service currently operates from Manchester to Huddersfield and when the line is closed a bus service is provided calling at all stations and giving a most uncompetitive journey time. Such services have run most commonly late on Saturday night (and occasional weekdays) to give the civil engineers a longer overnight possession. Less common is replacement for a full day, but it does happen as the pictures show. It became more common when the Sunday service was restored to Greenfield and Mossley stations in December 2006 - the lack of Sunday service had given a level of immunity to the effects of network maintenance.
Trans-Pennine express services don’t stop in Saddleworth and in the event of engineering works can be diverted via the Calder Valley route instead of over Standedge. However, the need to serve Stalybridge and Huddersfield stations usually results in a coach service passing through Saddleworth between these two places.
The nature of the services means that any operator may be used and a wide variety of vehicles can appear. Paul’s Travel of Huddersfield was for a time a favourite for local services but no longer operates. The services operated in 2009 saw First in Oldham provide the vehicles, which as a consequence were of types quite familiar already in Saddleworth.
© David Beilby