"N" is for "Number Nine" and today's photo shows two buses outside Park Cakes at Hathershaw, on the historic Number Nine route between Rochdale, Oldham and Ashton. The bus is the former Ashton under Lyne Corporation Transport bus no. 44, which was new in 1965. The bus behind is former Oldham Corporation Transport's bus no. 394, which was new in 1957.
The route started off as a a combination of tram or trolley bus routes, connecting at Hathershaw and Thornham. In 1939 the three towns of Ashton, Oldham and Rochdale replaced the trams and trolley buses on this route and started a through motor bus route - the 9, with buses from all three towns travelling the whole route on a joint running arrangement. In the 1970s the route was re-numbered 409 and this is still the number of the same bus route today.
The photograph, although showing a scene that might have been common in the 1960s, was in fact taken last Saturday, when the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport organised a special event remembering the Number Nine service. Four buses re-created the old Corporation bus days by running along the entire old Number 9 route, stopping for photos at several points.
The photo above was taken outside Park Cake Bakery on Ashton Road, Hathershaw. The photo below shows the four buses that took part in the re-enactment lined up outside the Museum of Transport. Ashton 44 is on the right and Oldham 394 on the left. Also in the photo are former Rochdale Corporation 280, new in 1956, with its distinctive swooping livery, and rear-engined former Oldham Corporation 163, new in 1967. This last bus is based at the transport museum in St Helens. The other three buses are part of the Manchester transport museum's collection.
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