Manchester Metrolink—Part 1

A Tale of Two Tram Cities.

I had the opportunity to travel and photograph two tram systems in two similar cities in two very different countries, with just a short plane ride and an overnight stay between my experiences. To compare and contrast; to ride, travel, and make photographs.

Manchester is a large city that was at the heart of its industrial revolution. It was an early railway centre and an inland port. Declining industry changed the place. But since the 1990s, Manchester has developed a modern tram network called Metrolink that appears to have greatly contributed to a revitalization of the city centre.

I first visited Manchester in the year 2000 when Metrolink was still relatively new and only in its infant stages of development. In the intervening years from then to now, the system has been improved and much expanded. The older trams appear to be out of service and a new fleet is now plying the rails. More lines are planned or under construction.

Manchester Metrolink's Piccadilly Station is beneath the mainline railway terminal of the same name. Lumix LX7 photo.
Manchester Metrolink’s Piccadilly Station is beneath the mainline railway terminal of the same name. Lumix LX7 photo.
Metrolink is a growing system. Even at its present size, it offers a citywide transport system that is more extensive than possible to fully experience in one afternoon. Lumix LX7 photo.
Metrolink is a growing system. Even at its present size, it offers a citywide transport system that is more extensive than possible to fully experience in one afternoon. Lumix LX7 photo.
Ticket machines on the platforms make paying for your journey relatively easy. Lumix LX7 photo.
Ticket machines on the platforms make paying for your journey relatively easy. Lumix LX7 photo.

The system has re-used portions of old railway and integrated historic railway alignments with modern construction. During my most recent visit I found the trams clean, well patronized and well run.

This visit was in mid-August 2014 and the weather was changeable; pouring rain one minute and sunny the next; conditions that are challenging for photography while  providing dramatic lighting effects. Although I made a few colour slides with my Canon EOS 3, most of the images I exposed were using my Lumix LX7.

One route now runs all the way to East Didsbury on the alignment of an old railway line. Lumix LX7 photo.
One route now runs all the way to East Didsbury on the alignment of an old railway line. Lumix LX7 photo.
Clean modern trams run every few minutes on most routes. Lumix LX7 photo.
Clean modern trams run every few minutes on most routes. Lumix LX7 photo.
The old docks are being redeveloped and trams serve modern apartment complexes in areas once occupied by industry and warehouses. Lumix LX7 photo.
The old docks are being redeveloped and trams serve modern apartment complexes in areas once occupied by industry and warehouses. Lumix LX7 photo.
At times during my visit it rained heavily. I retreated into a coffee shop for some lunch during one deluge. Lumix LX7 photo.
At times during my visit it rained heavily. I retreated into a coffee shop for some lunch during one deluge. Lumix LX7 photo.

Stay tuned with more views of Manchester tomorrow!

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