Supplement to e-BLN 1263 BLN Pictorial 20 August 2016
Pictorial takes to the streets for this issue, with a look at Manchester's Second City Crossing (SCC) which Metrolink is currently building to enable more
frequent trams to run through the city centre and provide better access to the west side of the central area. Our thanks go to our Treasurer, Ian Mortimer,
for his excellent pictures of the work currently in hand on the new section. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has also recently opened a guided
busway, which occupies part of the former LNWR route between Leigh and Worsley Junction. Public services began on 3 April 2016. The buses take normal
roads for a short distance from their terminus in Leigh, joining the dedicated busway at the site of the former Leigh station just north of the East Bond
Street/Princess Street junction. The busway follows the former railway alignment as far as Newearth Road, just to the east of the former Ellenbrook
station. From here the buses head south to the East Lancashire Road and into Salford and Manchester. Ian has also provided two pictures of guided buses,
one on the dedicated busway, and one 'running free' in the city centre. A picture of a bus at the Ellenbrook station site can also be found on Google Street
View (see link on page 3) though of course this may be superseded by a busless view the next time Google's car passes that way.
On the map on page 15, the SCC is shown as completed as far as the Exchange Square stop, opened in December 2015, which is currently the terminus of a
short 'branch' leaving the original cross-city line just east of Victoria Station. The remainder of the link, continuing on-street via Cross Street before turning
south east along Princess Street to reach St Peter's Square, is shown as a dotted line on the map, which also shows the temporary single line arrangement
through St Peter's Square between Mosley Street and Lower Mosley Street. The St Peter's Square stop is being rebuilt with two island platforms and is
currently quoted by Metrolink as reopening for services over the original cross-city route 'at the end of August' ; the SCC is quoted as 'complete in 2017'.
The usual practice has been followed with this issue, whereby a click on the page number next to each caption will take you to the appropriate photo, and a
click at the bottom left hand corner will bring you back to the captions. In addition, a click at the bottom right hand corner of each photo will take you to
the map page, and a click on each camera symbol on the map will take you to the appropriate photo.
4. The first 'work in progress' section runs from the temporary terminus at Exchange Square, adjacent to the Arndale Centre on the opposite side from
the existing route, crosses Market Street and then follows Cross Street south-westwards. This photo shows the view back (north-east) towards the
Arndale Centre from near the Cross Street/King Street junction.
5. Looking south west from the Cross Street/King Street junction, the trackwork is virtually complete, though work is evident at the end of Cross Street
where the SCC meets Albert Square and turns left to head south-east to St Peter's Square.
6. Seen at the same location, one of the 'Vantage' buses used on the Atherton/Leigh-Manchester services heads north-east along Cross Street. Note the
small guide wheel which can just be seen immediately just above the road, immediately in front of the bus's front right hand road wheel. This bus is
on the V2 route from Atherton, using the busway between Tyldesley and Ellenbrook.
7. Looking back (north west) from Princess Street towards Albert Square and Cross Street, the track is in place but final surfacing has yet to be done. The
building on the left is Manchester Town Hall, home of Manchester City Council.
8. The view from the same spot looking south-east towards St Peter's Square. This picture captures many of the elements of the tramway construction,
with sub-surface work on drainage and utilities, several stages of track construction from left to right in the foreground, and the masts and supports
for the overhead power supply already in place.
9. St Peter's Square, looking south west and showing the enlarged tram stop well under way. In the left foreground is the original cross city line coming
in from Mosley Street behind the photographer, and to the right the SCC which at this point makes the 90-degree turn from Princess Street into St
Peter's Square. The junction of the two lines is beyond the platforms, whose awnings can be made out in the centre of the picture. The diamond
crossing allows each island to serve both routes in the same direction, as described in BLN 1242.2334; south and westbound to Eccles, Media City,
Altrincham and Manchester Airport on the left, and north and eastbound to Bury, Rochdale and Ashton-under-Lyne on the right. The large red
building beyond the tram stop is the Midland Hotel, now known by its owners, Qhotels, as simply 'The Midland'. As the name suggests it was built by
the Midland Railway and the former MR Manchester Central station, now an exhibition and conference centre, is behind the hotel. Lower Mosley
Street, and the tramway, runs through the gap between 'The Midland' and the building to the left of it.
10. The St Peter's Square stop, seen looking north east from the Midland Hotel end. Mosley Street, with the original tram route, goes straight on in the
narrow gap between the buildings in the centre of the picture; Princess Street runs right to left across the picture in front of the nearer of the two
office blocks to the left of the gap. The SCC comes in from the left beyond the platforms. On the right of the picture is the St Peter's Cross,
commemorating the former St Peter's Church which stood nearby from 1788 until 1907. The Square is home to a number of memorials, most notably
Sir Edwin Lutyens's Manchester Cenotaph which, along with St Peter's Cross, had to be relocated as a consequence of the SCC development.
11. Lower Mosley Street, looking south west from St Peter's Square. At this point the SCC lines are still separate. On the right is 'The Midland'.
12. Lower Mosley Street looking towards St Peter's Square. Note the unusual interlaced track on the left, the left hand one of the pair being the SCC,
which was described in BLN 1242.2334.
13. The end of the SCC work, where the original route continues over a purpose built viaduct towards the Deansgate-Castlefield stop. The end of the
Manchester Central trainshed can just be seen on the right hand edge of the picture. The tram in the distance is a MediaCityUK service which has
disembarked its passengers at Deansgate-Castlefield, and is about to traverse the crossover just north-east of the stop in order to head west again.
14. 'And finally', don't worry - BLN will not be turning into Busway News any time soon! Ian's last photo, taken from the top deck of one of the Vantage
buses and showing a Leigh-bound V1 approaching, shows the guided busway near Tyldesley. The railway connection? As mentioned earlier, this is
a former LNWR alignment.
These photographs, apart from the last, were taken on 2 August 2016. Work on the project continues apace, with the St Peter's Square stop due to
reopen for services on the original routes at the end of August 2016. With completion of the Second City Crossing in 2017 the latest round of Metrolink
expansion will be complete, but TfGM is not resting on its laurels and is currently promoting an extension to the Trafford Centre and possibly on to
Port Salford, an inland port and distribution facility for which preliminary infrastructure work is under way at Barton-upon-Irwell.
Some other related links :
Metrolink home page http://goo.gl/ULqMQg
A plan of the Metrolink system, http://goo.gl/xbPCPD
including the proposed extension
TfGM's Guided Busway page http://goo.gl/gnoCuj
Manchester City Council's pages on http://goo.gl/12eY2s
Albert Square and St Peter's Square https://goo.gl/Kd6H4t
Google Street View image of the
eastern end of the busway
Peel Ports - Port Salford brochure
Video links (mobile device users please note - these may
download a lot of data) :
A tram trip from Victoria to Exchange https://goo.gl/qCJrkT
Tree planting in St Peter's Square https://goo.gl/jCvQJE The Exchange Square stop, current terminus of the Second City Crossing, on
6 December 2015. (David Dixon [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons).
High speed guided bus trip, Leigh to https://goo.gl/JZhgsy See also BLN 1247.2291.