Salford and Manchester
Lowry and Trams
1 April 2007
With a couple of days off work in prospect, I
began to investigate the possibility of a day
out. "How do you fancy a trip up to 'The Lowry'
in Manchester - we could take the train, and
have a ride on the trams too. And perhaps have
a nice lunch out..."
After some investigation of timetables and fares,
we decided to travel from Church Stretton -
actually a few miles in the wrong direction, and a slightly higher
fare than Shrewsbury (which was cancelled out by the free
parking, conveniently close to the platform...). The fare from
Telford would have been much higher - I'm not quite sure why.
Our train - a well-filled two-car class 175 - pulled in and left on
time. "Well-filled" became "packed" by the time we arrived, on
time, in Manchester.
"The Lowry" is part of the redevelopment of the former Salford
quays, at the head of the Manchester Ship Canal. Lowry is one of
those artists I guess we're all familiar with - it was good to see
the original works exhibited in this amazing building. Not just
"matchstalk men and dogs" either - some interesting seascapes
and portraits ("man with red eyes...") too. And just opposite -
We had travelled from Piccadilly through to Harbour City tram
stop - we returned by walking around the edge of Ontario Basin
to Salford Quays, there joining the tram to Piccadilly Gardens.
The tram service in question is part of the Eccles route, opened
at the turn of the millennium. Unlike the converted heavy rail
routes, it feels like a real tramway, with its tight curves and
frequent changes of gradient - great fun!
Returning to central Manchester, we walked to Victoria, a
shadow of its former self, but still retaining its fine frontage and
that famous map. The Metrolink trams scuttle in and out of
Victoria at 90° to the former terminal platforms, through a
somewhat odd-looking hole in the wall.
And so back to Piccadilly for our return run to Shropshire - a
three-car train this time, well packed. Once again, it ran to time
throughout - just 1½ hours - far quicker than we could have
driven. I can't help reflecting on the fare though - £18.40 each is
hardly a "cheap" day return, especially for those that had to
stand. It's "green" to leave the car at home - but it would have
been much cheaper to take it...
Metrolink official website
Metrolink lots of useful info on Wikipedia
Geoff’s Rail Diaries