LUT School Bus Services 1960's

(Culcheth, Lowton, Golborne and Newton-le-Willows area).
Although I have books on Lancashire United Transport, and also have seen an excellent article in Buses Illustrated No.205, April 1972 entitled 'Chat Moss Today', which apart from normal services in that area details the numerous services operated to Risley United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, I have never seen anything about school bus services and would just like to add my recollections of my schoolday travels with LUT on this excellent site.
I attended Newton-le-Willows Grammar School from 1963-1968. Sadly it is no more, having like so many others of that period (disgracefully) first been 'comprehensified', then the relatively new buildings (1930) and extensive playing fields in a lovely area obliterated, by the government of that time in the 70's. All that remains to show it ever existed is a road on a new housing estate called Harrison Drive just off Crow Lane East. (Mr. Harrison was the first and longest serving Headmaster at the school from 1930-1964.)
Service buses passing the school on Crow Lane East were the 39 Manchester-Liverpool, the 52 Leigh-Ashton, 53 Warrington-Ashton, and the 62 Newton-Ashton. The circuitous hourly 64 Newton-Marian Avenue (Newton Common) via Belvedere Rd. housing estate also passed and turned off Crow Lane East up Queens Drive which was opposite the school approach drive. Other schoolday buses-non-private i.e. the public could use them - were a single-decker which proceeded to Earlestown Market via the 52 route then onto Burtonwood via the 65 route; a bus from Lane Head via Golborne to Newton and Earlestown; duplicate 39's between Leigh and St. Helens; a 53 from Warrington at 08:20 - Earlestown, with a 'strange' return working at 16:05 in the afternoon from the school. Strange because it's destination always showed Rubery Owen, an engineering works near Penketh Lane Ends, west of Warrington. This was always one of the # BTF or # DTF registered Duple Tiger Cubs. (This later would return from Rubery Owen as a works journey about 5pm and travel to Earlestown via Wargrave hence the use of a single decker to fit beneath the Park Road North bridge under the Liverpool-Manchester line. (like routes 61/63)
No doubt it's crews used the Rubery Owen instead of the Warrington destination to deter any further would-be passengers after leaving the school! From the school it would never turn into Southworth Road (Newton Station) bus stops as the regular Warrington service would but would stop outside the Leigh Arms on the main road. Then in Warrington, after it's no doubt comfortable speedy 15 minute drive from Newton via Winwick it wouldn't terminate at the Central Station stop, but turned immediately right into Tanners Lane and disgorged it's passengers there, like the 309/319 etc. Southport-Warrington services did before they proceeded past Bank Quay station and on to their terminus at Arpley bus station (former railway station).
It was then free to run out of service via Froghall Lane and Priestley Street to Liverpool Road and thus to Rubery Owen.
Now to unadvertised school contracts to Newton Grammar.
Lancashire County Council, as it then was until 1974, now Newton is in Merseyside, contracted LUT to provide school buses from the Culcheth, Risley, Croft, Kenyon and Lowton catchment area to the school. Destination always showed PRIVATE of course as only school pass holding pupils were carried.
In 1963 when I started there were 2 buses, one for the boys, one for the girls. The buses were typically 'soon to be withdrawn' early 1950's Guy Arab III's or 1V's/Northern Counties with e.g. KTE #, MTB # or # RTC registrations.
In 1965 or 66 three buses were then provided, one for 1st/2nd formers, one for 3rd/4th formers and one, you've guessed it for 5th/6th formers. But at least now you could get the same bus as your 'latest' girlfriend, they were co-educational at last!
The buses now were the later modern Arab Mark IV's with 73 seats such as the # JTD or # NTF examples.
At this time, probably to obviate any danger to pupils and to avoid traffic congestion on Crow Lane East opposite the school these buses, along with the Rubery Owen (Warrington) bus now departed from Cole Avenue, a few yards north up off Queens Drive.
Timings: Depart Culcheth Harrow Inn 08:13, Risley, Noggin Inn 08:18, Croft, Horse Shoe Inn 08:23, Croft, General Elliott 08:25, Kenyon, Plough Inn 08:28, Lowton, Lane Head 08:35, then non-stop to arrive Newton Grammar School 08:46.
Between timing points up to Lane Head it would stop for pupils at any recognised bus stop.
Return: Depart Cole Avenue 16:08, Lowton, Lane Head 16:19, Kenyon, Plough Inn 16:26, Croft,General Elliott 16:29, Croft, Horse Shoe Inn 16:31, Risley, Noggin Inn 16:36, arrive Culcheth, Harrow Inn 16:41.
The buses were then conveniently positioned both location and timewise to go to Risley UKAEA just 5 minutes away to operate works services.
With regard to Culcheth, it should be noted that timetables always used the old name Newchurch, Harrow Inn, which to me always sounds better!
These schoolbuses thus traversed lanes between Risley and Croft which were only ever used by Risley works services, and between Croft and Lowton by the Saturday pm only, 2-hourly service 37.
The 37 was then linked (but not officially) to the 36 Newchurch-Irlam service. These double-decked(!) services I feel sure only carried lots of fresh air.
Thought these workings may be of interest, and nice to set them on record.

David J. Smith
06/2016


22/06/16 - 06:55

David
Thank you for writing this fascinating article. I hold interest in LUT dearly having, like you travelled to school on them in the 1960's too.
Particularly of interest to me is the fact that the majority of the services you have described would have been Hindley depot workings, which, as I lived and went to school in the Walkden & Farnworth areas, which would have been Swinton depot ones and were I later worked as both conductor then driver. The Hindley workings are not well known to me, so your article gives a little insight into those. The only special working that I know well that went into your area was the Saturdays only service from Manchester Chapel Street (i.e. outside and across the road from Victoria Bus Station) to the Hospital at Winwick. This service was often worked by downgraded coaches, (i.e. those repainted red - from cream) and only ever worked by Swinton depot's 'Top Sheet' crews. If I might explain why. Following the 5 day working week agreement at the end of the sixties, LUT needed part timers to complete all of the weekend work that was assigned to crews but which they could hand back if they did not wish to work it. This would include all the late service runs and the unsavoury or mind numbingly boring ones. The one exception being the 'Winwick' as this was such an easy duty, it picked up at Eccles only and ran showing 'Private', it was money for old rope indeed and the 'Top Sheet' senior men knew easy money when they saw it, so it was never given up!

Mike Norris


25/06/16 - 05:54

Mike,thank you for your positive comments about my article,and thanks for your reminiscences and experiences of L.U.T.
I must admit that I had always assumed that my Culcheth to Newton school buses were operated from Atherton Depot,in line with the majority of other services in the area. That was,until I stopped being shy and got chatting with one of the conductors in about 1965, finding out that their home depot was indeed Hindley.
With reference to the Saturdays only Manchester-Winwick Hospital service I was under the impression that apart from Eccles,Bus Station it would stop to pick up elsewhere along it's line of route. My memory, or was it my imagination is that there were other timing points i.e. d. Manchester, Chapel St/Victoria St. 1330, Eccles, Bus Station 1347, Irlam,Ship Hotel 1400, Newchurch, Shaw Street 1415, arr. Winwick Hospital 1430.
It returned from Winwick Hospital at 1630, arriving back in Manchester 1730.
Now,although I have 1947,59,63 and 65 timetables they only state one intermediate timing at Eccles, (at1347 )like you have mentioned in your post. Now,did I have or see another timetable which had those other timing points,or what? The timing point at Newchurch, Shaw Street instead of Harrow Inn would not be out of order either because that would be the route of the 47 in Culcheth( i.e. via Shaw St and Church Lane instead of direct along Warrington Road to the Harrow Inn) on it's service from Leigh to Croft,Winwick & Warrington which of course our Manchester to Winwick coach could conceivably follow. So did I see that somewhere else,or I might even have had at one time another timetable.I might have lost it during one of our frequent house moves.It's certainly not in my collection now!
Also,another possible mental aberration on my part but ,I think I saw a photo somewhere of one of those good-looking 1960 Northern Counties bodied Tiger Cubs of the 28-35 batch registered 121 MTE etc.photographed in Manchester in later red dual-purpose livery in the mid 60's at the start of it's journey to Winwick.It was showing WINWICK and not PRIVATE in it's single destination screen-they had no numeral indicators of course.
There was also the fascinating jointly operated X85 (or 85X if you were on a Wigan Corporation bus! ) from Wigan to Irlam ,started in 1964 whose main passengers were workers at Irlam Steel Works-now sadly closed since 1979.This limited stop rail replacement service took a very creditable 47 mins ,just 8 minutes longer than the train service it replaced, although in autumn and winter the mists and fog rising from the open fields and the winding B-roads would no doubt slow it down a bit. Always a surprise in the gloom to meet a KEK or HJP registered Wigan Titan with Massey body on a bend ,the first thing you'd notice being the green identification light either side of its destination screen.I believe they were to assist Wigan ratepaying citizens in recognising their approaching bus as being one of 'theirs' and use it instead of one of their competitors,presumably LUT and Ribble !!
Certain LUT journeys especially those returning from Irlam terminated at Abram,Warrington Road,presumably to turn off for Hindley Depot.The code on these stated "Out of Service Journey and liable to suspension if not so required". To me,this always begged the question how would you know if you wanted that particular bus that it might not turn up ! The service was fairly good if irregularly time tabled and a bit more frequent than the trains it replaced,but it was still a rail replacement service and you might have a long two or three hour gap or so until your next bus.
From Swinton Depot ( I presume it was Swinton) there was also the X86- a Monday to Friday commuter service from Manchester to Risley (UK.A.E.A).There is a picture of a downgraded AEC Reliance/Burlingham coach of the 1-5 batch(G241 GTJ etc.) showing destination MANCHESTER at Risley lined up with other LUT Arab double deckers,and right at the end of the line it a white/black Crosville CMG coach on another long distance service,out to Frodsham & Saughall , a village west of Chester.
Vehicles from well outside the immediate area catered for these Atomic Energy workers. The X86 departed Manchester,Lower Mosley St.Bus Station 0725 M-F,via Urmston ,Station 0740, then via M63 (now part of the orbital M60) over Barton High Level Bridge to Irlam, Clarendon Road 0755, Glazebrook, Station 0803 (for trains from Liverpool Central and Manchester Central), Newchurch, Harrow Inn 0810 to Risley, Bus Park arr. 0815. It returned at 1718 M-Th (or 20 mins.earlier at 1658 on F), taking an extra 5 mins between Urmston & Manchester probably to allow for evening rush hour traffic, arriving Manchester 1813 M-Th or 1753 on F.
If anyone is interested in all such regular and works services in this area I recommend finding a copy of Buses Illustrated 205 of April 1972,which includes a 7-page article entitled Chat Moss Today with map and photos.

David J. Smith


26/06/16 - 06:43

Thanks for your extra/additional information, following my earlier response. Had to go into the loft this morning to dig out my LUT info. I have 1969,1970 and 1976 Faretables, plus 1966, 1967 & 1976 Timetables, so have been looking through them to identify most of the services that you have shown. First, the Winwick Hospital, the times were always the same as you have shown, Manchester, Eccles, Newchurch and Winwick & return. The Faretables only show Manchester, Eccles, then Newchurch, Shaw Street and the Cherry Tree Hotel, then Winwick. Passengers were not carried intermediately. As regards the destination, coach blinds were not as all inclusive as service buses and 'Winwick' was not on many (if any at all ) of Swinton's coaches, hence the use of Private. Wether or not it did pick up at other points along the route, I do not know. To the X85, as you say a rail replacement service following the closure of lines that allowed those trains to get from Wigan to Irlam. What I did not know was that it was joint with Wigan, who as you say did indeed operate on it as well. The Timetables make no reference to this and only after consulting the Fireable is there a mention in its heading. Wigan PD2's along Holcroft Lane, wow, that was news to me ! Now the X86 from Lower Mosley Street in Manchester, nope not a Swinton working, strangely enough but yet again, another Hindley one, with the consequential empty running, but as it was under contract, the finance would have covered. Again no intermediate fares in the Faretable. After looking through my purchased photographs, I see that I have shots of - 76 (Hindley) on the X85 in snow on Holcroft Road 105 (Hindley) at Risley, with 24 (Hindley) behind and a CSG6 at the rear 259 in Wigan showing X85 Irlam. 365 departing Hindley showing X85 Irlam. and later 381 in Hindley depot showing 695 (as the X85 became) Lastly, I wish I had that Chat Moss article and perhaps if you are still living in the North West, we'd have a lot to talk about if we met.Thanks for your extra/additional information, following my earlier response. Had to go into the loft this morning to dig out my LUT info. I have 1969,1970 and 1976 Faretables, plus 1966, 1967 & 1976 Timetables, so have been looking through them to identify most of the services that you have shown. First, the Winwick Hospital, the times were always the same as you have shown, Manchester, Eccles, Newchurch and Winwick & return. The Faretables only show Manchester, Eccles, then Newchurch, Shaw Street and the Cherry Tree Hotel, then Winwick. Passengers were not carried intermediately. As regards the destination, coach blinds were not as all inclusive as service buses and 'Winwick' was not on many (if any at all ) of Swinton's coaches, hence the use of Private. Wether or not it did pick up at other points along the route, I do not know. To the X85, as you say a rail replacement service following the closure of lines that allowed those trains to get from Wigan to Irlam. What I did not know was that it was joint with Wigan, who as you say did indeed operate on it as well. The Timetables make no reference to this and only after consulting the Fireable is there a mention in its heading. Wigan PD2's along Holcroft Lane, wow, that was news to me ! Now the X86 from Lower Mosley Street in Manchester, nope not a Swinton working, strangely enough but yet again, another Hindley one, with the consequential empty running, but as it was under contract, the finance would have covered. Again no intermediate fares in the Faretable. After looking through my purchased photographs, I see that I have shots of - 76 (Hindley) on the X85 in snow on Holcroft Road 105 (Hindley) at Risley, with 24 (Hindley) behind and a CSG6 at the rear 259 in Wigan showing X85 Irlam. 365 departing Hindley showing X85 Irlam. and later 381 in Hindley depot showing 695 (as the X85 became) Lastly, I wish I had that Chat Moss article and perhaps if you are still living in the North West, we'd have a lot to talk about if we met.

Mike Norris


28/06/16 - 06:38

Mike,there is currently (27/6/2016) a copy for sale on E-Bay 2.99, free postage. Click on the following link www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ian-Allan-BUSES
Should take you to it-or on the E-Bay site itself search for Buses Illustrated April 1972. Quite often other copies are found for sale.

David J Smith


02/07/16 - 06:34

Mike,thanks for your comments and interesting information. Well I never would have thought that Hindley Depot did the X86 Manchester Risley U.K.A.E.A.service,I could perhaps have understood if Atherton had worked it,but Hindley never! I would imagine it took the route from Hindley via Atherton & Tyldesley to the East Lancs A580 & A6 to get to Manchester for 0725 to start the X86. From Risley after the a.m. drop off at 0815 I suppose the best way would be direct to the Harrow nn,Culcheth ,then the X85 route via Lane Head,Golborne & Abram to Hindley Depot.Then in reverse of course in the evening rush hour. I bet that a.m. out of service leg from Hindley to Manchester on a foggy winter's morning was sometimes a slow one,but at least the coach would be warmed up for it's Risley bound commuters at Manchester !
In my original article I also forgot to mention another LUT schoolday service ,but this time it was the reverse of my Newton Grammar school buses in that it was from Earlestown and Newton to Newchurch (Culcheth) for Culcheth High School.In those days there was such a good range of available schools options compared with today wasn't there? It was nominally a 52 from Earlestown,Market at 0815 via Crow Lane to Newton Station (0825) then Lane Head arr.0833.The timetable then had an intriguing footnote ' Link Up with journey to Newchurch' on the 49 service,but this really was operated as a through working dep.Lane Head 0835 ,arriving Newchurch,Harrow Inn 0845. From my own schoolday observations at Lane Head there weren't many schoolkids on it from Earlestown to Lane Head,but at Lane Head it certainly got fuller,as it acted as a duplicate for the schooldays only 0820 Leigh Corporation service 48 from Leigh via Lane Head 0835 to Newchurch.This was always one of the older lowbridge bodied Corporation vehicles with kids spilling off those shiny leathercloth upper deck bench seats into the side gangway with squeals of delight no doubt when it went round the bends in Kenyon Lane and Wilton Lane en route to Newchurch,well I would like to think so,remembering the things we kids used to get up on buses!.The corresponding returns from Newchurch left the Harrow Inn at 1615 to Lane Head 1625,the Corporation 48 turning right for Leigh whilst the LUT 49 became a 52 in that through 'link-up to Newton Station arr.1633 and Earlestown Market arr.1643.
Another interesting little snippet here. I had a couple of mates who went to Culcheth High School and they were avid trainspotters. From 1964 onwards they would have get that 48 just mentioned from where they lived near Lowton St.Marys Station,but from 1962 until 1964 when passenger services ceased on the Wigan Central to Glazebrook and Manchester Central line they actually got, and it was still steam operated , he train from Lowton St.Marys Stn.to Culcheth Station,a journey probably taking all of 4 or 5 minutes.The times weren't too convenient for instance either as it got them to school about 45 mins, before the bell and they had a wait for a returning train in the afternoon,but they could always while away the time having a football kickabout.The days before girls,and travelling on steam trains was exciting to 12 and 13 year old boys...
Take me Back!
Incidentally,if you haven't managed to obtain a copy of BI 205,I can always photocopy it for you,but would need an e-mail address so that you could tell me your postal address.

David J Smith


21/07/16 - 09:58

I am really sorry for the long delay in replying, I obtained the Buses Magazine through my brother, but who was away on holiday when it arrived!
So to the article by Mr Biddiscombe. I see in their the questions raised which your research has sought to answer, so praise indeed for that. I was unaware of the 36 & 37 story, their decline and resurrection along with Leigh's 46 & 47 story hingeing on the Risley installation. Also enjoyed reading about the River Mersey embankment collapse ending the use of Warrington's Bank Foot terminus for the 10 from Manchester and the 77/80 series of locals. One item I can directly link to was the school service from Glazebrook New Farm via Dam Head Hall to Irlam, which I have Guarded but never driven, it was worked by a Loline that had worked a morning 22 service from Swinton to Irlam Steel Works. The 'Moss' was not a welcoming place on early winter mornings, when the only heat available was to stand in front of the radiator to get your frozen fingers to work the 'TIM' dial ! All in all a very interesting chapter of LUT, so thank you again for highlighting.

Mike Norris

 


 

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