Created 17-Sep-11
Modified 14-Apr-16
Visitors 165
6 photos
Barnsley and District had grown to be a company serving a much larger area than their fleetname indicated and as a consequence the new title “Yorkshire Traction” was adopted in December 1928. The new company was not very old when it inaugurated joint services between Manchester and Barnsley with North Western. There were two services, one via Holmfirth and the other via Woodhead. The latter is not relevant to the Saddleworth story but is mentioned as the two were often considered as variants of the same service.

Initially Yorkshire Traction numbered the service via Holmfirth as the 12 and that via Penistone the 16. These eventually became the 19 and 20 respectively. North Western did not use route numbers at that time and it was after the war when they adopted X19 and X20 for their operations on this service (as they already had services numbered 19 and 20). It took until the mid-seventies before Yorkshire Traction started using X19.

The new service was advertised in the “Holmfirth Express” on 11th May 1929 and started on Thursday 16th May 1929. The two services gave a combined hourly service during the day, alternating on the two different routes. In 1930 two journeys a day were extended to Doncaster but this was not repeated.

The timetable remained very stable over the years. North Western worked the service via Holmfirth and Yorkshire Traction worked via Penistone, except on Saturdays when both worked both ways. One feature of the summer service in the fifties and sixties was that the first departure from Barnsley on a Saturday was a through working to Llandudno.

The service appears to have been suspended during World War II but I have no dates for cessation or resumption.

The pattern of service continued the same after the war, the first change being in 1971 when the two services were merged. The new service ran via Penistone and Holmfirth, instead of using the A635 road between Barnsley and Holmfirth. At this stage the service became worked exclusively by Yorkshire Traction and was known as The Pennine Rose Express.

Terminal points had initially been Lower Mosley Street bus station in Manchester and Eldon Street in Barnsley. On the opening of the new bus station in Barnsley in December 1938 the service moved there and so remained for the rest of its existence. Manchester’s Lower Mosley Street bus station closed on 13th May 1973 and the next day the service moved, along with other express services, to Chorlton Street bus station.

The service declined slowly and was withdrawn on 22nd March 1981. However, the story hadn’t quite ended. Baddeley Brothers had been a famous independent operator based in Holmfirth, who before the war had run excursion over the moors to the Bill’s o’Jacks pub above Greenfield (although how they turned round there is a mystery to me!). On 24th March 1976 they were taken over by West Yorkshire PTE and the Baddeleys name retained for coaching operations. However, the coach operations were financially most unsuccessful so on 14th January 1980 the Baddeleys operation was sold to G B Hirst of Holmfirth.

G B Hirst had previously operated coaches but ceased doing so in 1976, citing unfair competition from the PTE as the reason! A new service was introduced from Barnsley via Penistone and Holmfirth on 30th May 1981, known as the X20 Trans-Pennine Express. The terminal points were at Court House car park in Barnsley and Chorlton Street in Manchester, in both cases very close to the bus stations that had been the termini of the X19 at its demise.

The new service never gained much patronage and never really had the opportunity to do so. The receiver took over the Baddeleys business, with the business in such a state that the service had to be stopped without notice on 26th June 1981, with one journey from Manchester to Holmfirth being stopped en route in Holmfirth!

Thus ended services on one of the most desolate roads in Saddleworth. The road over the Isle of Skye is the highest in Saddleworth and the road remains at altitude for some distance. As a consequence this had always been a difficult service to run in winter.

Since 1981 only summer seasonal services and one National Express service have used the Isle of Skye road until the 2015 introduction of services by South Pennine Community Transport, see elsewhere in the gallery.

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Guestbook for Manchester to Barnsley
Jon Brierley(non-registered)
The Manchester to Barnsley story is perhaps missing two items: firstly, that at some point in its later years the X19 was extended to Doncaster (I think by merging with another service). The Barnsley - Donny section remains to this day as the X19. Secondly, Tracky returned (briefly) with the X60 service, as seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markamis/3600172843/ Despite the livery, it was not a NatEx service.
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