The 156 was one of Saddleworth's most elusive routes and was rarely troubled by photographers as it didn't go through anything that would call itself even a town.
It started around 1925 as a High Crompton to Uppermill service which was numbered 65 in the timetables, but not shown on the buses. By October 1926 the full length of the service was only operated at weekends; on weekdays it ran from Saddleworth station to Denshaw as part of a complicated system of vehicle working. On these days a bus would leave Oldham for Denshaw on a short working of the Oldham to Halifax (via Greetland) service (the 62), then go from Denshaw to Saddleworth station as a 65 and thence to Marsden as a 61 as a short working of the Oldham to Linthwaite (for Huddersfield) service. This round trip took three hours and was only done three times a day.
By October 1927 the main route had been modified to run from Newhey to Roaches with the full route again only being operated at weekends, the rest of the week it ran only from Uppermill to Denshaw.
By August 1928 the route was curtailed again, ceasing to run between Roaches and Uppermill but at least now the full length of the route was operated on a daily basis. The route was extended in 1930 along Chapel Road and Shaw Hall Bank Road to Friezland Church, after which it remained quite settled with a timetable that changed little. It was recorded as being one-man operated from May 1958, I believe it was the only such route at first. However, I remember travelling on it on a Sunday with crew operation after that date.
The only change to the route came about in 1963 when most journeys were extended a short distance along Church Road in Friezland to Armit Road, turning round at the bottom of High Grove Road.
It was one of the first routes in the area to disappear, being withdrawn at the end of 1970.
© David Beilby