Southport Corporation Transport – A surprising find in Manchester’s Heaton Park

I’ve blogged about Southport’s long gone tramways previously. Here are a few links back to my previous postings about them and Southport Corporation Transport:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/01/12/southports-tramways/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/07/27/southport-its-former-horse-trams/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/06/03/southport-looking-back-to-1967-and-the-county-boroughs-centenary-celebrations/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/07/13/birkdale-its-tramway-into-southport-an-historic-photo/

The reason I return to this subject now is that I’ve recently visited the volunteer preserved tramway in Manchester’s Heaton Park. This lovely little tramway is well worth a visit (check when it’s open before travelling) but sadly soon after we visited they had some overhead cantenary cable stolen which curtailed their ability to run their heritage trams. The good news is that Manchester Metrolink has stepped in to get them up and running again.

A preserved Blackpool tram at Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester.

However, I digress. If you take a close look at the photo at the head of this posting or this one

you will realise the buttons are from Southport Corporation Transport. They were on the uniform of the ticket inspector on one of the Heaton Park Heritage trams. Small world indeed.

The Blackpool tram shot is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester – Tired and a bit Empty

I love museums and always have done but I must say this one in Manchester disappointed me.

The day did not start well when we arrived at Ladywell Park and Ride to get a tram into Manchester only to find that on this particular line last Saturday the trams were being replaced by buses as maintenance work was being done. Obviously I’ve heard the dreaded words for rail travellers before ‘rail replacement buses’ but tram replacement buses was a new one on me, although sadly just as depressing in practice I have to say. It took forever to get into Manchester but we did have a scenic tour of Salford Quays along the way.

Note to self and advisory for others, don’t go to Manchester expecting a tram ride without actually checking that the trams are running.

The nearest I got to Metrolink – Trams passing each other at the G-Mex – one day I’ll get a ride on one I hope.

Having got to the city center the tram replacement bus travelled past the end of Liverpool Road, where we wanted to get off, so we could wave at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and then dropped us off miles away from it having sailed (for whatever reason) past quite a few bus stops. But we finally got to the Museum.

First impressions were good, the entrance hall looked good, the welcome staff were friendly and the toilets and Cafe were fine too. Cafes in Museums have in general usually been poor in the UK and I’ve often wondered if poor spec cafes is actually a specification of the Dept. of Arts and Culture or whatever the UK Government is presently calling it. Don’t get me wrong the small volunteer/private museums where you can get little more than a mug of tea and a Kit Kat are great, it’s just that when you go to a National Museum you expect to be able to eat well at a decent price and rarely is this the case. But to give them their due MOSI had got this aspect pretty well bang on, so congratulations to them.

Stephen’s Rocket at MOSI

Sadly, that was about it though for me. We had a good look at the original Stephenson’s Rocket which had pride of place in the museum (it’s only there for another couple of weeks – until the 8th September) then toured the rest of the site. What struck us were the empty spaces especially in the former Liverpool and Manchester Station building and the lack of railway trucks and carriages etc. on the tracks outside of it. The Power Hall was closed for maintenance works and the separate building housing all the aircraft and vintage cars was also the subject of significant maintenance works (although open) and quite obviously an extremely leaky roof.

Crossley Limousine of 1909

MOSI seems to pitch itself as a museum of family entertainment with all kinds of activities taking place for youngsters but for the older generations I feel it looks tired and rather empty. I have little doubt that austerity will have played into the the maintenance issues or probably the lack of maintenance (due to lack of money) has led to an almost crisis maintenance regime where things only get fixed when they are really bad. But having said that I’ve been to this museum before, the last time maybe 15 years ago or more and I seem to recall it’s empty spaces from back them.

A giant MOSI mural on the side of a building

MOSI, in my view, needs a big injection of cash and a plan to make the best of it’s wide open spaces both inside and outside. Sorry it was a disappointment.

Stop Brexit – Vince Cable’s speech from the Manchester March held during the Tory Party Conference

Vince Cable


www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hrvEZVe__g

Please access the video on youtube via the link above

Vince Cable speaking to the marchers about why Brexit is such a bad idea and why we need to stand up to oppose it. Nice that he was able to hold out a hand to those in the Labour and Tory Parties who also realise how bad Brexit is going to be for the UK but are presently stuck with their party whipping them to back what they know to be dangerous falsehoods.

Manchester – Ordsall Chord will impact appallingly on our railway heritage.

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/planned-rail-bridge-connecting-manchesters-victoria-and-piccadilly-stations-will-cause-catastrophic-damage-to-heritage-site-say-critics-10498374.html

The Independent has the story – see link above.

21-Ordsall-Bridge

That the Ordsall Chord is required to relieve the railway bottleneck that is Manchester is a given but to do so at the expense of the historic Liverpool Road site of the Liverpool Manchester Railway is nuts!

I hope this last gasp campaign to save the site from unnecessary destruction will be a success.

Another British City brings back trams – Edinburgh

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-27602618

The BBC has the story.

The 1940’s & 1950’s saw city after city and town after town get rid of the tram network just as American cities disposed of their streetcars. In a number of European cities the thinking was a little more forward looking and they kept their trams. Now trams and indeed streetcars are making a significant come back because of traffic congestion and environmental considerations.

What goes around comes around and with British Trams, especially those in seaside resorts like Blackpool and Southport, they used to do a circular tour for holiday makers.