CONDUCTORS were a major feature of bus journeys up to the introduction of driver only transport.

Jean Rostron — whose maiden name was Caloe — has fond memories of her time on the buses in Bolton.

In scenes reminiscent of the popular television show from the 1970s conductors and drivers would rule their buses with both a firm hand and humour.

Jean tells us that she left Bolton Transport training school in the 1960s and was partnered with a Jim Noone who she believes lived in from Farnworth.

“On our first journey working on the Halliwell route, on a back loading bus, we were going back to town, for our break along Newport Street.

“A car driver made a mistake in front of us, making Jim slam on his brakes.

“I was propelled the full length of the bus, landing in a heap, money scattered everywhere.

“Our break was spent hunting for the money as rules stated any shortfalls were deducted from my wages.

“This was not a promising start.

“On another journey a very tipsy man descended downstairs to alight and I was standing near the bell.

“He was carrying a bag and all I saw was a turkey’s head swinging to and fro in front of me. It was Christmas time.

“He apologised and insisted I take a tip and despite refusals from me he gave me a £5 note which was a lot in those days.”

She also recalls delivering schoolchildren to Colliers Row School on the moors above Smithills and getting stuck in a snow drift for three hours.

On another journey thick fog was so dense on the return journey to town Jean had to walk in front of the bus with a torch guiding Jim back to the depot.

“The best was ladies going to bingo from Halliwell and it was a packed bus which I couldn’t get round to collect the money.

“When they was getting off I stood on the back, reeling tickets off with my TIM machine, but no one tried to evade paying — there was such honesty.”

Jean, who lives in Blackrod, says she loved the job despite it sometimes being so cold “your hand froze touching the poles and you had to wear multiple layers of clothing. “I must have looked enormous,” she says.

After each journey to Trinity Street there was a stop off at a little cafe for tea and scone. “They were happy days.”