Special supplement to e-BLN 1247 BLN Pictorial 19 December 2015
This issue of BLN Pictorial takes a look at present and former stations in the central areas of Manchester and Salford, based on notes prepared by our long
serving (1869-89) former Chairman, Dr Angus McDougall, for walks which he led for Society members in 2013 and 2014. To avoid splitting up the notes
they are given in full below, with links provided in the notes where there is an image relevant to the location mentioned. Notes in square brackets indicate
updates from,or after, the walk. Click on the underlined text to view the image; to get back to the notes, click the small blue arrow at the bottom left hand
corner of the page. Where there is more than one page of images relating to a location, this is indicated by blue up and down arrows. On the final page
there is a scalable map of the central Manchester area showing the pre-grouping lines superimposed on a present day street map. Please note the map is
not optimised for mobile devices and may be very slow to load.
Central Manchester Walk, 27 April 2014
We start at Manchester Piccadilly (London Road until renamed 12.9.1960). The station was opened on 10.5.1842, replacing a temporary terminus at Travis
Street (opened 4.6.1840 as part of the Manchester and Birmingham Railway from Heaton Norris). Through platforms south of the main structure were
added for the Manchester South Junction and Altrincham Railway (latterly GCR and LNWR Joint) on 1.8.1849. These platforms were closed 15.9.1958 and
replaced by a completely new structure over Fairfield Street, opened 25.4.1960. Two further through platforms, presumably to the south, are now
The GCR side of the station, opened 17.11.1841 from Godley by the Sheffield Ashton under Lyne and Manchester Railway, was electrified at 1500 V d c. In
1954 but this was converted to 25 kV a c in 1984. The main LNWR line had become 25 kV a c in 1960. The MSJ&A section was electrified at 1500 V d c from
1931 until 1971, when it also became 25 kV a c. (but on that date only as far as Oxford Road).
Before starting off we will look at the Woodhead route plaque on platform 1.
The ramp towards the city centre and the building alongside it (where the Ian Allan shop is situated) were partly occupied by the LNWR goods station until
its closure in 5.1965. This ramp is now only used by pedestrians, buses and police vehicles. On the north-east side of the curving building was Ducie Street
GCR goods station, closed 2.10.1967. The large warehouse fronting Ducie Street still stands, now converted into flats.
After descending the surprisingly steep Jutland Street we proceed to Sheffield Street where the Metrolink line to Droylsden (opened 8.2.2013, extended to
Ashton-under-Lyne on 6.10.2013) emerges from the east end of the ingenious conversion of the undercroft to a tram station, opened 20.7.1992. Beyond
the Travis Street bridge is Mayfield station, used as a passenger terminus from 8.8.1910 until 28.8.1960. After that it served from 6.7.1970 until 1.11.1987
for postal parcels traffic, there being a high level bridge (now removed) from the Royal Mail building on the north side of the Piccadilly approach tracks. In
passenger days there was a footbridge across Fairfield Street from the main station. Mayfield is now derelict and in a poor state, parts having been
dismantled recently. There have been several schemes for redevelopment of the site, but none has so far materialised. On the north side of Fairfield
Street can be seen the site of London Road power signal box, opened 14.12.1959 and closed 15.10.1988, replaced by a new facility, allegedly on the third
floor of the Piccadilly station tower block. The signalbox structure was completely removed in 2008.
The site of Ancoats MR goods station, closed 17.7.1972, is not far away, but there is very little to be seen there, so I have omitted it from the walk.
We return to Piccadilly station past the new entrance on Fairfield Street opened in the last few years, very convenient for car and taxi use, occupying what
was formerly a largely derelict area. We then walk along Fairfield Street and Whitworth Street to Oxford Road station (opened by the MSJ&AR on
20.7.1849). The iconic Grade 2 Listed building dates from 1960, and an additional platform (on the south side) was provided on the closure of Central in
1969. New platforms are promised for the future, together with the removal of the present west-facing bay, though it is unclear (to me anyway) where
they could be. Oxford Road is the only station in the Manchester area with ticket barriers, although they are threatened for Victoria [now installed]. The
MSJ&AR line west of here to Altrincham was converted from d c to 25 kV a c on 2.5.1971, and the section beyond Cornbrook has been a Metrolink tramway
since 15.6.1992, of course.
In Whitworth Street West, just by the station approach, we take the free Metroshuttle bus (route 2) to a stop on Deansgate near the historic John Rylands
University Library. Our journey passes various railway sites of interest which we shall look at more closely later. After alighting we make our way down
Bridge Street to Salford Central. This station dates from 29.5.1838, but has only been known as “Central” in recent years (officially from 29.5.1994). It once
had a distinctly sparse service but now is frequently served by trains heading from and to the LYR route north and has been improved in appearance. It is
very convenient for the north side of Manchester city centre, of course. There are no platforms on the parallel LNWR lines (towards Ordsall Lane and
Liverpool) but it seems possible there may be in the future [now planned] when the much vaunted “Ordsall Curve” is constructed.
The car parks on each side of New Bailey Street south of the viaduct are the site of Salford Goods, closed 3.4.1967. The rail access was down a steep incline
from Oldfield Road on the LYR line, passing under the LNWR viaduct by an opening which can still be seen, its course now partly occupied by a new road.
We make our way via the bank of the river Irwell to Water Street and Liverpool Road. This claims to be the oldest existing former passenger station in the
country (possibly the world), being opened by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway from Liverpool Crown Street on 17.9.1830. However it closed to
passengers on 4.5.1844, when the line from Ordsall Lane to Victoria was opened. It remained in use for freight until 8.9.1975, and then became a museum,
now part of the Museum of Science and Industry “MOSI”, visited by a BLS rail tour last year. Rail access was restored 13.4.1980 (from the former Ordsall
Lane No 1 signalbox, closed 23.10.1978), but this connection is now apparently threatened by the construction of the Ordsall Curve (once known as the
Castlefield Curve) which will cut across the site towards Victoria [connection now removed]. Some of the old warehouses and the former passenger
entrance can still be seen from Liverpool Road itself.
After a brief look in the museum entrance, we will walk along Duke Street to the steps up to the Central station approach viaducts. The nearest section
carried tracks to the GNR Deansgate goods station (and also apparently a locomotive shed, which was never permitted to be used). The southern (and
older) of the two massive CLC viaducts from Cornbrook is used by Metrolink trams whose Deansgate-Castlefield station (originally GMEX) is to our right,
and beyond it, at a lower level is the MSJ&AR line and its Deansgate station (opened 20.7.1849 as Knott Mill, then Knott Mill and Deansgate until 3.5.1971).
In this area was the 1935 overhead style Manchester Central power signalbox until its closure on 4.5.1969.
The Central station train shed is ahead of us; it opened 1.7.1880, replacing a temporary station opened 9.7.1877. After closure to passengers on 5.5.1969,
the station became a conference centre, originally styled GMEX, but now known as Central again. Our path takes us round the side of the train shed on
what must have been the site of the former goods depot (originally the temporary passenger station), closed 7.9.1964. To our left is the huge GNR
Deansgate goods warehouse, which we can reach from street level, although before that we should just turn right along Windmill Street to view the front
of Central station and the back of the associated Midland Hotel. If possible [it was] we will walk through the goods warehouse (closed 29.3.1954, but
apparently used later (1958 – 6.7.1970) for parcels traffic, although possibly not rail served) and then emerge into Deansgate, viewing the former vehicle
entrance and its sign on the way east.
A short walk will take us to the stop for another ride on the free Metroshuttle route 2 bus, this time past Victoria station to the bus station at Shude Hill.
Here we will walk down Balloon Street past the start of the Metrolink single track which now runs through the site of Victoria station [double track now
restored]. We can also note the work going on preparatory to the construction of the Metrolink Second City Crossing. We shall try and see as much as we
can of the redevelopment of the station and the new provision (additional platforms) for Metrolink.
Victoria was opened by the Manchester and Leeds Railway on 1.1.1844 served by a steep incline down from Collyhurst Street (Miles Platting). It replaced
Oldham Road (opened 4.7.1839 from Littleborough by the Manchester and Leeds Railway) which remained open for freight until about 1981. The line from
the west was opened 4.5.1844, as already mentioned. Victoria has been rebuilt several times, by 1884 and 1904 and most recently in 1993 when the war
damaged rambling 17 platform structure was largely replaced by four through platforms (and two bays) under the Manchester Evening News Arena. Some
notable features remain, however, including the LYR wall map and the wooden booking office. Most of the former terminal section on the city side was
removed before construction of the present Metrolink island platform. Further rebuilding is now happening and replacement of the remaining overall roof
has already started [and now completed]. The station was known (unofficially) at one time as Hunts Bank (which is the street leading in the Salford
direction) and there were temporary stations at Ducie Bridge from 1855 to 1877 and 1879 to 1884. The 1929 Victoria West Junction signalbox (closed
8.8.1993) was at the west end by the bridge over Victoria Street, where we can view the site of Exchange station (opened 30.6.1884, connected to Victoria
in 1929 but closed 5.5.1969, having been badly damaged in the 1939-1945 war).
We will then walk past the former railway Palatine Hotel (now part of Chetham’s School and soon to be demolished) to the ramp formerly serving Exchange
station (which was actually in Salford) and now leading to a car park on its site [ramp and area now cleared for redevelopment]. One platform and the
footbridge remain [no longer]. At the west end of car park was the 1929 Deal Street signalbox, closed 4.9.1998. Signalling is now from Manchester North,
housed in a wooden hut at Salford Crescent and opened 4.8.1998 [now transferred to the new Manchester ROC]. The organised part of the walk ends here,
although a short walk to the site of Oldham Road (not much to be seen unless you walk quite a long way!) may be possible.
Left : You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs! This scene of
apparent chaos shows the view westward, towards Oxford Road on the
Manchester South Junction & Altrincham line at the bridge over Fairfield
Street. It was taken during the wholesale reconstruction of London Road
station, which then became Piccadilly from 12 September 1960 on
commencement of 25kV electric services, initially as far as Crewe. The
picture shows the early stages of construction of today’s platforms 13
Left : London Road was originally a joint LNWR/GCR station and even in
BR days was shared between London Midland and Eastern Regions. This
19 June 1948 picture reminds us of that arrangement, showing the view
north westwards into the Eastern Region (ex-LNER, ex-GCR) part of the
terminus (Platforms A, B and C), which adjoined but was operated
separately from the larger London Midland Region (ex-LMSR) section
until in 1960 (with all lines by then electrified) the Station was rebuilt and
renamed Manchester Piccadilly. No. 4401 was one of the popular
Robinson J11 0-6-0s.
(Both photos and part caption texts : Ben Brooksbank [CC BY-SA 2.0], via
Left : the Woodhead Tunnel plaque at Manchester Piccadilly. The 1954
tunnel was the third and (currently) last, built to accommodate the 1500
V d c overhead line equipment and now occupied only by six National
Grid high voltage cables and ancillary equipment. Despite this, a campaign
(http://goo.gl/bLFwDm) continues to reopen the route through the
Below left : Metrolink M5000 tram No. 3047, from the batch delivered in
2012-13, heads into the eastern entrance of the Piccadilly undercroft,
working an Altrincham service.
Below : The street level entrance to Metrolink’s Piccadilly station is within
the former LNWR goods offices in London Road. The western entrances to
the undercroft, used by the trams, are a few metres to the north, off the
picture to the left. (all Ian Mortimer)
Previous page : The former GCR Ducie Street warehouse, now converted
into flats (Angus McDougall)
Left : This view of the interior of Manchester Mayfield station shows the
formidable hydraulic buffers still in place after track lifting.
Below left : Mayfield from the former trackbed, looking west towards the
buffers. (both Wikimedia user philld [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons)
Below right : The exterior of Mayfield, looking towards Piccadilly, whose
platforms 13 and 14 can be seen in the background at the end of the street.
Left : The former London Road signalbox as not seen by passengers using
Manchester Piccadilly station. Grafted onto the existing viaduct in
1958/59, the signalbox was then state of the art in outward design and
electrical technology. The 'bay window' section is cantilevered out,
following the lines of a short turntable originally provided for steam trains
using the Altrincham route. (© Copyright Peter Whatley and licensed for
reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Right : The unusual laminated timber shell roof and frontage of Oxford Road
station, dating from 1960 and now Grade II listed. The through platforms 1-4
are to the left of the main building, with bay platform 5 to the right.
(Wikimedia contributor Patyo1994 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia
Described in its listing as “one of the best post-war railway stations in the
country, with a striking and highly elegant design”, this station replaced the 1847 MSJ&AR original. The full listing can be found at http://goo.gl/e7b2y5.
Oxford Road’s traffic patterns have changed over the years, with the loss of the MSJ&A services which were converted to light rail in 1992 more than
compensated by a steady increase in longer distance services which followed the 1988 opening of the Ordsall Lane Jn-Windsor Bridge Jn ‘Windsor Link’,
providing access to former L&Y routes to the north-west. This, combined with the substantial increase in passenger traffic network-wide in recent years,
has led to proposals to widen the viaduct between Piccadilly and Oxford Road, and lengthen platforms 1-4 at Oxford Road to provide additional capacity
for more and longer trains. Outline details can be seen at Network Rail’s page : http://goo.gl/85jBev
Left : the New Bailey Street entrance to Salford Central, looking from the south
(LNWR) side of the line. (Gerald England [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia
Salford Central, once very poorly served by a few rush hour-only trains has
been greatly improved in recent years and has benefitted both from the
commercial regeneration in its catchment area and from a much increased all-
day service to and from the likes of Blackpool, Southport and Huddersfield. A
£5m improvement to the station, as part of a larger scheme to improve the
New Bailey Street and Chapel Street areas was completed in 2008.
With the Ordsall Chord now going ahead despite a High Court challenge
(rejected in October) there is even the possibility of platforms on the LNW
lines, and it looks as if Salford Central, once seeming to be on the path to
closure and dereliction, now has a very much brighter future.
Left : Turn to your left at the location in the previous picture and you will see
this view of part of the site of the former L&Y Salford Goods, parallel to the
LNWR lines on the right but at a lower level. The connection to the L&Y passed
under the LNWR’s brick viaduct which can be seen in the distance, rising to
meet the L&Y at Oldfield Road, between Salford and Windsor Bridge Jn.
(Peter Whatley [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons).
Above left : on 13 December 1980 the BLS ‘Mancunian Railtour’
stands at Liverpool Road after its short run from Victoria. Part of
the original building can be seen to the right of the picture. (Ian
Above : the commemorative plaque at Liverpool Road recording
its opening on 15 September 1830 by the Duke of Wellington,
and its status as the world’s first passenger railway station.
Left : The much modified station building at Liverpool Road,
looking west from the eponymous road on 2 December 2005
Next page : The BLS ‘Power Hall Tracker’ tour entering Liverpool
Road on 3 November 2013. The rear loco is very close to the
point where the line is being severed by the Ordsall Chord.
Previous page : The impressive GNR warehouse at Deansgate (Angus
Left : an unusual view of Manchester Central’s platform 7, one of three
added in 1906 to the original 1880 station. In December 1961 a Jubilee
‘Cochrane’ awaits departure with a local train to Chinley. (Ben
Brooksbank [CC BY-SA 2.0] , via Wikimedia Commons)
Below left : Central was left to decay following closure in 1969, being
sold to NCP then on to Greater Manchester Council in 1978. Only in 1983
was it given listed status, before conversion into the G-MEX exhibition
centre (now once again Manchester Central). Here the front of the
station is seen in January 1975. (Ian Mortimer).
Below right : A sunny day in August 1976 sees the undergrowth
encroaching on a near-derelict Central, still waiting for the boom times of
the 80s to rescue it. (Ian Mortimer)
Left : The interior of the Central trainshed in the 'NCP years', October 1977,
just before the Greater Manchester Council stepped in. (Ian Mortimer)
Below left : Reborn - this 2013 shot shows the revived Central, immaculate
and with its own name restored. Even the clock is going! (Angus McDougall)
Below right : The magnificent Midland Hotel, built by the eponymous railway
and OP (and everyone else with sufficient ‘readies’) 5 September 1903, seen
here in 2010. (Tim Green from Bradford (Midland Hotel, Manchester) [CC BY-
SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)
Next page : even Victoria is getting ‘glammed up’ (not before time!). A recent
view of Victoria with the new roof in place and the tram tracks realigned. (Ian
Previous page : as your current Treasurer made his way to his office one snowy December morn in 1981, he had to stop to admire the panorama laid
out before him as he looked over Victoria’s eastern approaches. In the foreground was the main L&Y route eastwards up Miles Platting bank towards
Newton Heath. Centre was the River Irk and just beyond that the Red Bank carriage sidings. Upper right was the Collyhurst Loop, curving round to run
due east and meet the main line at Thorpes Bridge Jn. Across the top of his view ran the viaduct carrying the Bury line with (then) its 1200 V dc third
rail electric trains. (Ian Mortimer)
Below left : Your Sub-Ed has long admired the tile map at Manchester Victoria and on 2 December 2005, he finally got round to taking a photograph of
it. (Dave Cromarty)
Right : part of the L&Y signalling training layout once located at Manchester Victoria,
now at the National Railway Museum. (Ben Salter from Wales (Training tracks Uploaded
by Oxyman) [[CC BY-SA 2.0]], via Wikimedia Commons)
Left : Victoria West Junction signal box in February 1975, with a
Transpennine DMU entering Victoria station. The trainshed of Exchange
station can be seen in the background. (Ian Mortimer)
Below left : Exchange in its temporary (during WCML electrification)
heyday on 3 September 1960. (Ben Brooksbank [CC BY-SA 2.0], via
Below right : the site of Exchange station on 16 August 2013 (Angus
Next page : Oldham Road goods depot in October 1976 (Ian Mortimer)
Salford Exchange 4
89 7 11 12
London Rd 13
Salford New Barns Jn Mayﬁeld
(Manchester Ship Canal system)
Bridgewater Jn 10
(Traﬀord Park system)
Traﬀord Park Sidings
Key to railway companies Goods sta�ons
LYR: 1 Windsor Bridge
Cheshire Lines Commi�ee GNR : 8 Deansgate
2 Liverpool Street CLC :
Great Central 3 Salford 9 Central
4 Oldham Road GCR : 10 Cornbrook
Great Central and Midland Joint 5 Beswick 11 Ducie Street Street map © OpenStreetMap contributors.
LNWR: 6 Liverpool Road MR : Licensed under Crea�ve Commons ShareAlike
Great Northern 12 Ardwick h�p://crea�vecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
7 London Road 13 Ancoats
Lancashire & Yorkshire K 14 Ashton Road (Coal) Pre-grouping railway sources : RCH Junc�on
London & North Western 15 Ashton Road (Goods) Diagrams 1910, 1914, OS 6":1 mile maps
Manchester South Junc�on & Altrincham