Manchester Central - was closing it a mistake?

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by eMeS, 10 Nov 2011.

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  1. eMeS

    eMeS Member

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    Back in the '50s I lived close to Chassen Road station, Flixton and used Manchester Central whenever we visited Manchester by train. I have lots of memories of the horses with their nose bags holding grain,and looking into the two(?) glazed cases holding detailed models of ships. Does anyone know where the models are now? My family were very proud that Central station had the next highest/largest span roof after St Pancras. Was this true? Other memories were the change in noise as we approached Central over the girder bridge close to Castlefield.

    Since I moved away from Manchester, I've visited Central once - to attend an exhibition.
     
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  3. Captain Speaking

    Captain Speaking Established Member

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    I used to live in Sale as a lad in the late 50s and early 60s. We had a choice of train into Manchester - the frequent 1500vdc EMU stoppers into Oxford Road, or the hourly DMU from Chester which ran fast into Central. The DMUs used the platforms on the south side of the station, actually outside the train shed, but passengers passed into the train shed on their way out of the station.

    I'm not sure that closing Central was a mistake, but I think converting the Altrincham line to tram was a mistake, especially as by then it was re-electrified at 25KV AC.

    When it was heavy rail, it ran 6-coach EMUs (in DC days) at regular intervals at busy times, 3-coach trains during the day. Now, overcrowded trams run the service. And the line formed an integral part of the heavy rail south Manchester network.

    Perhaps it's time to change it back to heavy rail?
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2011
  4. stockport1

    stockport1 Member

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    real shame central closed.

    with investment the alty line could have been another great route into manchester from the south.

    a fair portion of the line was 4 track (including a few stations having 4 platforms)

    complete 4 tracking and removal of the few level crossings around timperly could have seen this as being a great alernative to stockport-picc for a few services.

    its silly that chester/northwich/knutsford has a single track bottleneck connection to manchester and takes up valuable paths through stockport.

    the chester line has conections to the WCML north and south (via middlewich) too. central could have been used as an alternative into manchester for a fair number of services.

    The fallowfield loop also deserves a mention to ... allowing central to connect to the east and allowing freight to avoid oxford road -picc.

    i remember watching the daily freight pass through fallowfield at around 4pm every day. there was occasional other traffic but i distincltly remember long diesel freights going from trafford park every day after school. :)
     
  5. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    If you looked at the closure programme that was being enacted at the time of closure, it was not just small stations that were being closed, as Manchester Central, Manchester Exchange, Liverpool Exchange were all affected as North-West city centre stations. However, the closure of the Manchester to London route that went through Buxton and Matlock was instrumental in the "rationalisation" of what was envisaged to be an adequate provision of services from Manchester to London with the electrification of the former London and North Western route.
     
  6. davelew99

    davelew99 Member

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    Personally i think there are too many stations in manchester city centre now, after all Victoria to Picadilly on foot is only around 20 minutes.

    With the proximity of Oxford Road, Deansgate and Central i don't think we really need them all.

    That said, deansgate provides an important tram interchange (but there is one at piccadilly anyway and most services don't stop at deansgate...)
     
  7. stockport1

    stockport1 Member

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    if we could *rationalise* into 1 station in manchester we might need say 20 terminal platforms and 10 through platforms?

    piccadilly is heaving. central could provide another 8-12 terminal platforms via a 5 track approach for trains from the north south and west.

    we could deffo do with that kind of capacity in manchester.
     
  8. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    The current two track viaduct between Deansgate and Manchester Piccadilly is the main Manchester bottleneck for the through service requirements.
     
  9. stockport1

    stockport1 Member

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    :) sod HS2

    instead

    reopen + electrify buxton - matlock with midland mainline.
    convert alty-mncr back to heavy rail.
    reopen fallowfield loop.
    extend victoria
    ( do we need an MEN arena and a GMEX conference center more that basic transport?)
     
  10. Nym

    Nym Established Member

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    Well, given the massive loadings coming in from Cornbrook now and that we're fast running out of space on and soon to be placing more services on the OR Corridor, with service levels at saturation on the Metrolink too, it could seem sensible to re-open Central Station as a Metrolink terminus for some services (Notably Tram-Trains to Warrington via Lymm and on the Mid Cheshire IMO, and the CLC line services, that could accomadate a massive frequency increase to join up with Merseyrail services)

    If a connection could be put into place from the Windsor Link and Chat Moss route onto the Central viaduct near the A57M, there is a reasonably clear alignment, would need more viaduct though. Then re-opening Central and running less services through Oxford Road would be a reasonable idea. And would allow an increase in frequency and destinations to the West of Manchester to a nicer service level, and take some pressure off of Victoria for Westerly terminating services.

    If this Chat Moss and Windsor Link where plugged into Central than IMO the Metrolink extra platforms / capacity should still remain souly with the 2CC and a plan I formulated before for 2 platforms for Metrolink at Oxford Road station as part of a re-build.

    Realistically, changing metrolink back to heavy rail would take an auful lot of effort, including new track and viaduct from Panoma to Old Trafford, so that the East Dids / Chorlton Lines can have access with the heavy rail lines running to Alty.
    However, if this tram/train concept can be sorted out and electrodiesel trams provided that could run out onto heavy rail lines then there are a number of routes that could be re-opened and additional capacity could be added to this part of the network by re-instating some four track and limited stop metrolink services running. This however would need Metrolink's Tram/Train operations intergrating into the ATOC.

    If the tram-train idea works then an extra few tph could run to down the alty line and onwards to the likes of...

    Chester via Alty
    Crewe via Alty

    And with some re-openings?

    Warrington via Lymm (Street running where needed)
    Chinley via Didsbury

    Or borrowing some Heritage Railways?
    Victoria - Rawthenstall
    Bury - Rochdale

    So expansion of metrolink outside it's borders with 'shared services' run by a TOC that is part of ATOC over say, the Mid Cheshire Line or other re-opened routes, or forcing Metrolink to join ATOC and work as a TOC (pleeassseee....)

    And if these tram-trains (from the Cornbrook direction anyway) had somwhere like extra platforms at Oxford Road to terminate at, rather than running (potentially 8 car trams, I'd invisage fixed 4 car formations) onto the Metrolink lines in Manchester CC) then it would take away some of the congestion there.

    Back onto topic anyway, Central, Would be very handy today for terminating these additional tram-train services should wishful thinking prevail and they can run on 25KV OHL, 750V OHL and Diesel. Combined with being used for the CLC line terminators.

    Note that if Central was being used, the long distance Tram Train services would make use of four track wherever possible and run fast, only calling at Cornbrook, Sale, Timperley and Altham (with the 1 track section being intergrated into either Metrolink or Network Rail and a fully shared station built).

    With Cornbrook rebuilt to provide access from the CLC to the two 'Central Station' lines, and the Metrolink Lines able to access these lines for their services to terminate from long distance routes, services using Central could be numerated to...

    3tph Chester via Alty Mid Cheshire Line
    2tph Crewe via Alty & Middlewich & Sandbatch (New station there)

    2tph Warrington via Lymm?

    2 - 3tph Chinley via Didsbury (Additional platforms on the line from Hazel Grove, calling Cornbrook, E Dids (Some 4 track added), (Wherever the Stockport CC Line Splits), Edgely Road, Bramhall Lane, Hazel Grove South, Chinley

    2tph Semi Fast Liverpool Lime Street - Manchester Central (As current fast patterns)
    2 - 4tph Slow Liverpool Lime Street / Central - Manchester Central

    That would give Central 10 - 12tph Trams and 6tph Heavy Rail

    And free up 4 paths on the Oxford Road viaduct, or two paths if only stoppers are diverted (and additional semi fasts still provided, giving the CLC up to 8tph)

    Much more potential for services if there is a route from Ordstall Lane to Central...

    Somthing to Buxton maybe?

    And running into Victoria and either down to Piccadilly, or using some new platforms there...
    2tph Rawthenstall - Vicroria?

    EDIT: And as somone sudgested, the Fallowfeild Loop, dual voltage trams from Piccadilly to Central via Fallowfeild? 4tph
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2011
  11. stockport1

    stockport1 Member

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    always though fallowfield loop would make an excellent circular.

    OT - chorlton -fallowfield - leve - gorton -mcr.

    lots of students may use this to get to manchester (fallowfield) and provide an alternative to 169 bus.

    theres not much cross manchester transport. if you want to get anywhere you have to go into manchester center and back out again!
     
  12. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I suppose the big contraction at Victoria was a definate mistake.

    But with regard to Central, there is clearly a bottleneck through Stockport. If the mainline through Cheadle Heath had been retained, there'd be additional capacity into the centre to take the pressure off. And of course, there's no way that traffic could get into Piccadilly via the Oxford Road route from that direction without increasing pressure there, so you'd have to have Central.
     
  13. ole man

    ole man Member

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    Without sounding ignorant but where was Manchester Central?.
    I know where Mayfield was, if im correct is that the disused one on the left as you approach Piccadilly?
     
  14. DavidL

    DavidL Member

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    Mayfield is/was just south of Picaddily, as you say.
    Manchester Central is/was on/around Windmill St - and the conference centre now using the trainshed building is once again called Manchester Central (was GMEX).

    Nice tobacco-card type picture here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_Central_railway_station

    -David
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2011
  15. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    It's still there, as the G-Mex centre.
     
  16. ole man

    ole man Member

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    Ah ive seen it, what services ran from Central?.
    When did it close and why?
     
  17. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    It's main line down to Derby was closed and there were few enough lesser routes to be diverted to the other terminals. Would have been around 1967-68 ?
     
  18. ole man

    ole man Member

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    Looking at the stations it served, does the Metro now call at Didsbury, Chorlton-cum-hardy and Cheadle Heath?
     
  19. DavidL

    DavidL Member

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    I'm not sure if I'd got the wiki link in my previous post by the time you posted, but it gives a little bit about the old services - (e.g. CLC to Liverpool, Midland to London (StP)).

    There's a bit more on the closure (68/69) at the fantastic Disused Stations site:
    http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/m/manchester_central/index.shtml
     
  20. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    Closing the Midland route from Manchester Central to Derby was sheer stupidity. It happened because of the policy of getting rid of "competing routes" between Manchester & London, which totally ignored a sizeable demand for services between Manchester and the East Midlands (mainly Derby, Leicester & Nottingham). Ever since, the services have been indirect - originally via Hope Valley & Dore south curve, and now via Sheffield. Unfortunately, I think that Central is never likely to be reopened. Metrolink has taken over parts of the trackbed beyond Cornbrook, and the pro-tram PTE is unlikely to be interested in allowing a route for heavy rail.
    As for the Fallowfield loop that someone mentioned - pity it closed, but the local service once provided was too poor to compete with frequent buses into the city centre over roads much less congested than they are now. Also, you would need to demolish a large supermarket and other buildings now near the site of Fallowfield station.
     
  21. Holly

    Holly Member

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    There are lots of possible good projects around Manchester. One example: if the HS2 passes through Manchester Airport then slightly expanding the newly needed right of way could provide all of three miles of trackbed for a classic speed line between Manchester Airport and the Mid-Cheshire line. Which would then open up all sorts of service possibilities. Including freight.
     
  22. ole man

    ole man Member

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    Could Mayfield ever be reopened again? seems a waste to just sit there and rot away?.
    They could Terminate ATW services there
     
  23. Nym

    Nym Established Member

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    All two services per hour, only one of witch is in the right direction and would need to cross two operating lines to reach Mayfeild?

    (Sorry, am such a ____ tonight)

    If mayfeild was re-opened for anything it would be for stopping services on the slow lines, and if the route to Slade Lane where four tracked, this would only be the slows on the Airport line, 2tph.
     
  24. Lampshade

    Lampshade Established Member

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    Mayfield could as the approaches are clear, but Central couldn't realistically be reopened now given all former lines are now closed or converted to Metrolink, so we'll never again see services to London St Pancras calling only at Cheadle Heath :(
     
  25. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Central really lost its purpose when the mainline closed and they no longer needed a four tracked route. All of the Manchester stations have sufficent patronage to be considered large stations on their own. Mayfield doesnt serve a purpose that Piccadilly doesnt, large number of bay platforms except Piccadilly is closer to the city centre.
     
  26. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    The South Manchester Metrolink extension will eventually see services as far as Parrs Wood, but the Cheadle Heath area is not in any plans at present.
     
  27. snail

    snail Established Member

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    It would also require a considerable amount of work to bring the old viaduct to Central Station into use (although it's newer than the one Metrolink use). There are tentative plans to open it as an aerial garden, similar to the High Line in New York City.
     
  28. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Yes its a steel structure which hasnt aged as well as the older brick viaduct next to it. As they say they dont build them like they used too.
     
  29. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    If it had remained open, Mayfield could have been useful for the services via Heald Green & Styal line, but after it closed, they demolished the footbridge from Piccadilly. When it closed, the few trains then using it could easily fit into Piccadilly.

    So, if it was ever considered for reopening, in addition to relaying & new signalling, you would have to include the cost of building a new footbridge if it were to be of much use.
     
  30. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    The route from Manchester City Centre to this area of Fallowfield is one of the most heavily serviced bus corridors in South Manchester with many passengers being the Manchester University student population who commute using these buses from their Halls of Residence and other privately rented accommodation in that area directly into the campus area of the University, without the need to then walk or to take a bus from a station back to the University.
     
  31. ajdunlop

    ajdunlop Member

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    They'd have to install a good sprinkler system ;)
     
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