Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Catching a tram and making history

Now I wonder how many people have collected tram number 3117 and added it to their collection.

Leaving Chorlton, 2013
My friend David has and he is now on the lookout for the next in the series added to which he is also collecting the names of each tram.

Of all these I suspect one of his favourites will be the Lancashire Fusilier which has a lot to do with his huge collection of memorabilia from the two world wars as well as the history of the Post Office.

David doesn’t hide his collection away in dusty attics, and dark cellars, instead he regularly displays some of it at special events and maintains a permanent exhibition in the Remembrance Lodge at Southern Cemetery which will feature new material to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.*

In fact David and I will be meeting up tomorrow at Cornbrook so that he can pass over the last picture postcards for inclusion in my new book, Manchester and the Great War.**

Old fashioned loco spotting David circa 1958
On the journey back south he has already told me he will have his collectors book handy, after all as he says “you don’t give up on a life time of collecting locomotive numbers” which for him was done most nights down at the Edgeley sheds in Stockport.

And of course for David and others it has been a seamless transition from loco numbers to tram numbers.

Not that I am surprised.  The Manchester Metro has been running since 1992 and for those with a longer memory there was all that talk in the 1970s of the Pic-Vic line which would have connected Piccadilly and Victoria Railway stations.

We may well applaud those railway magnates of the 19th century for their vision and determination to create this new way of travel, but never forget that  they were businessmen driven by commercial considerations.

So when rival companies built their Manchester termini they were governed in part by the availability of cheap land, and not over bothered about the commuters attempting to coordinate a journey which finished at London Road and another which started at Victoria.

At which point and in recognition of all those that like an underground tunnel story there were plans to create a link as early as 1839 and of course everyone knows about the investigatory tunnel under the Manchester Arndale both of which ended because they were deemed uneconomic.

The Metro link has been the reverse, and now stretches out way beyond the city centre.

As I write the Second City Crossing is well on its way to completion and it cannot be long before work begins on a route out to The Trafford Centre and even Stockport.

All of which is a far cry from when tram 2001 rumbled past the Midland Hotel to stop at St Peter’s Square.

Arriving into St Peter's Square, 2011
Since then that metro stop has vanished as has that short lived one at the top of Portland Street.

And  makes me wonder whether in the fullness of time Peter will add “metro stops I have known” to his painting portfolio including the new improved one up at Deansgate Castlefiield perhaps one of the busiest on Market Street and some of those quieter ones up beyond Oldham on the way to Rochdale.

Which just leaves me to report that David having checked out his new exhibition at Southern will be on route via the airport tram to Cornbrook and a connection east with his collectors book on his lap.

Location; pretty much everywhere on the Metro system.

Paintings; Arriving into St Peter’s Square, © 2011 and the newly opened Chorlton stop , © 2013 Peter Topping,

Facebook; Paintings from Pictures, Web:

*Coming Soon ......... an exhibition in Southern Cemetery ........... remembering the Battle of the Somme,

**A new book on Manchester and the Great War,

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