Salford Docks Freight Tunnel

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by thenorthern, 26 Dec 2014.

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  1. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    Looking at an old map I notice there was once a tunnel to Salford Docks from where the Windsor Link now in.

    Where abouts did this tunnel run and is any of it still visible also does anyone know when it closed?

    Cheers to anyone who knows.
     
  2. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway opened the tunnel ( I think that 1898 was the year of opening ) from the Windsor Bridge goods complex to the docks and I feel that the areas between docks 8 and 9 were the access point.
     
    Last edited: 26 Dec 2014
  3. MarkyT

    MarkyT Established Member

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    As shown here on this 1946 6" OS map (revised 1938 so doesn't reflect war damage):

    http://maps.nls.uk/view/102339522#zoom=5&lat=5261&lon=4116&layers=BT

    emerging under Trafford Road between Nos. 8 and 9 Docks.

    I doubt any trace remains looking at all the old terraced streets the tunnel passed beneath, of which there is not a trace remaining on modern maps and aerial images.
     
  4. Geeves

    Geeves Member

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    I dont know the closure dates but Ive had a look into this myself in the past

    The different coloured wall on this google street view is the top of the former nothern portal dropping down from a steep cutting towards the docks. The tunnel its self was also quite a drop/climb depending on direction of course!

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.4...m4!1e1!3m2!1skKc8ODKXnIud0Khoiwb7pA!2e0?hl=en

    At the southern end it went under Trafford Rd where the Morrisons is now, I walked along here and its not visible at all so far as I could tell

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.4...m4!1e1!3m2!1sJGXr-yh_Y3PZ9reLtE3f3w!2e0?hl=en

    Fairly sure it came out here at the same angle as this road.
     
  5. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    As an aside thanks @MarkyT for directing to the National library of Scotland where they have all the maps of England online, that the privatised OS down here charge for.
     
  6. dysonsphere

    dysonsphere Member

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    And my thx also
     
  7. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    Some more info here too.
     
  8. Springs Branch

    Springs Branch Member

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    The line was sometimes known as the New Barns branch and was built by the L&YR, not surprisingly, soon after the opening of the Ship Canal and Salford Docks in 1894.

    If you can get your hands on Bob Pixton's book Liverpool & Manchester No.3: Lancashire & Yorkshire Lines, it has two pages of photos of the branch with descriptive captions.
    Copyright prevents me scanning and posting here, but some brief snippets are:-
    - Opening date 28 March 1898.
    - Closing date 15 June 1963.
    - Interfaced with the extensive Manchester Ship Canal Railway at New Barns Junction, with marshalling yards between No.8 and No.9 Docks.
    - A passenger platform was in use for a few years at the end of the branch, serving a racecourse in the vicinity. The racecourse closed around 1901 (to allow construction of No.9 Dock) and there were no more regular passenger trains. Excursions for local workers and children occasionally used the platform until 1939.
    - The gradient from the docks was quite steep: 1-in-47 for 30 chains from passing underneath the LNWR Chat Moss lines up to Windsor Bridge Jct.

    Much of the branch was in tunnels or deep, brick-lined cuttings. A correspondent on a Historic Salford Forum has commented that the cuttings were always in a filthy condition due to local residents dumping all sorts of refuse, household rubbish, dead cats & dogs and the like over the walls onto the track below - and this was in "The Good Old Days!"
     
  9. Wavertreelad

    Wavertreelad Member

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    As a regular visitor with my Dad to Salford Docks in the 1960's I can remember trains emerging from the tunnel into the huge marshalling yard between No 8 and No 9 Dock and this was almost certainly prior to 1965/1966, although I can remember the brand new Manchester Liners House being constructed on part of the site. I cannot recall if it breached the tracks into the tunnel, but it was certainly very close. The building opened in 1969 and today, Manchester Liners House is called Furness House, after the company was acquired by Furness Withy Shipping in 1970. They split the business in two, selling the North American business to CY Tung Group, owners of OOCL and the Mediterranean business to Ellerman's who subsequently sold it to Hamburg Sud who have made it their UK main office. Incidentally Manchester Liners were the first British shipping line to operate deep sea containerships with their weekly service from Salford's No 9 dock to Montreal. Ultimately, the ships grew too big and could not navigate the Manchester Ship Canal so you could say they also caused the eventual downfall of the Ship Canal. Ironically that same service operates from Seaforth by OOCL in partnership with Hapag Lloyd and MSC. I also now work over the road and from our 13th floor office we have a panoramic view of the entire dock system which has changed so much in the last fifty years.
     
    Last edited: 27 Dec 2014
  10. snowball

    snowball Established Member

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    http://www.old-maps.co.uk has some larger scale ones that I think the National Library of Scotland don't have (lots of 1:2500 and occasional ones even larger). The site primarily exists to sell paper copies of maps but free online viewing is possible. However its user interface underwent a change for the worse a month or two ago.
     
    Last edited: 27 Dec 2014
  11. Senex

    Senex Established Member

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    They get as far as having all the 6" maps of England on line, which is a superb resource for all of us south of the border. We could wish for the 25" maps, but understandably I think they don't do that for us. But if your research takes you to Scottish railways, then the wealth of maps available for free access on the NLS site is absolutely stunning. It makes one very conscious indeed of just how badly we are treated by the OS and its minions here in England with the rather poor and hideously expensive Old Maps web-site, and also the failure of the British Library to do anything like its Scottish opposite number.
     
  12. MarkyT

    MarkyT Established Member

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    I think the site is better now than last time I looked, at least at the map viewing level itself which you can display full screen at reasonable magnification, although it is annoying you have to select the area you want to investigate via the search or gazetteer interface, rather than just zooming in from an overview map like the nls maps. Also the prices even for pdfs are still extortionate. Fine for commercial purposes and the occasional one off "what was my street like in the 1800's enquiry", but for us amateur railway historians and engineers surveying far and wide £11 to £16 per sheet is much too expensive. At least they allow us to view them on screen properly now, and from that one can create new derivative maps if desired.
     
    Last edited: 27 Dec 2014
  13. snowball

    snowball Established Member

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    I've never had any interest in using the old-maps site to buy a paper map! But I've learned useful information from it scores of times over the years.

    The user interface has improved in the few weeks since I last looked at it. I think I must have seen a poor first stage of the recent changes.

    I've just discovered some remarkable detail there that I've reported in the Farnworth Tunnel Electrification thread.
     
  14. snail

    snail Established Member

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    Lancashire CC have a useful mapping application called Mario that has some older maps and aerial photos of parts of Lancashire. Dragging my point on topic, the 1950s 1" OS map shows the Salford Docks line quite clearly.
     
  15. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    I was talking to someone the other day who said that there should be a Salford Docks National Rail station which made me think of the tunnel, had it of remained open would a Salford Quays station be viable?
     
  16. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    Salford Quays as a generalised area is now already well served by the Manchester Metrolink system, noting the locations of all the tram stops in that area that serve the large office complexes.
     
  17. Geeves

    Geeves Member

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    It would of been much more difficult to open the Windsor Link if the tunnel had of remained open, as it runs over a portion of the filled in cutting.
     
  18. AndrewNewens

    AndrewNewens Member

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    I and a schoolfriend walked through the tunnel from the northern entrance south, towards the docks around 1970. I can't remember exactly how we got in to access the portal, but we both had a healthy disregard for elf n safety or the law relating to trespass at the time.

    The open cutting section was, as described in an earlier post, full of rubbish of all sorts discarded by local residents, and it took some time to climb over the mess.

    The southern portal had been almost totally blocked by a pile of earth crudely piled up from the outside, but we managed to crawl out via a small gap at the top of the portal like a couple of trapped miners. The southern entrance was closer to the former Manchester Liners office than the posted photo link suggests.

    Whilst there must have been some damage to the tunnel and an infilling of the cutting, I have often wondered in there was not an opportunity for a Metrolink connection to be added to take the Eccles extension up to Salford Crescent and thence to the University or further afield, perhaps looping back towards Manchester itself?

    A wild fantasy perhaps, but I am curious to know what remains of the tunnel 45 years after my subterranean adventure
     
  19. UrbanWorld

    UrbanWorld Member

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    The canal all the way to Manchester was bound to eventually fail. A white elephant as many predicted. A few docks could have been built at Eastham on the Mersey estuary and where the entrance to the canal is now. From there a rail line owned by the City of Manchester could have run to rail terminals in and around Manchester. The lines could even take passengers along its route. This is far more flexible than an expensive large deep canal with expensive docks complexes. The canal was and is only useful for bulk cargos with the load all for one customer. Loads that have many customers are best docked at Liverpool and rail used to distribute the load.

    However, these days the canal is well used around the Mersey estuary with little traffic above Runcorn. It is a 36 mile linear dock. The long section from Runcorn to Manchester can be filled in and used for HS2/HS3 for the traffic it takes.

    Modern ships have less draft than older ships having flat bottom keels and wider beams. The canal is 26 foot deep and many very large ships can navigate up the canal using it one way only. The problem is the narrow locks. If the three locks were widened, quite large ships can navigate up to Manchester. The largest ever ship to steam up the canal was 36,000 ton RN ship using all the width, which was pre war if my memory is correct. I would guess a 60,000 tonner these days (which is big ship) could motor up the canal. Of course, like the Suez canal ships would need to go up in convoy, with passing bays cut in for ships coming the other way.

    One suggestion for the canal was running a super fast monorail linking Manchester and Liverpool airports running in the canal walls.

    The canal has not been marketed properly. Many companies could have setup on its banks with their own ship laybys saving on transport costs. Few did.
     
  20. Rail Ranger

    Rail Ranger Member

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    There is no way that the Ship Canal could be filled in because it is a vital drainage channel (hence why we don't get serious flooding in the area). It is in effect the River Irwell and the River Mersey over some of its length.
     
  21. UrbanWorld

    UrbanWorld Member

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    The bulk of it can be filled in leaving the drainage aspects. Any rail over It can be on trestles. It would make an ideal route for HS2/HS3. It is not a leisure canal for sure.
     
  22. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    When the tunnel closed no one at Salford Docks could have predicted what was going to happen at the docks particularly MediaCityUK.

    A link though from Salford Quays to the north though would be useful.
     
  23. AndrewNewens

    AndrewNewens Member

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    Time to organize RailUKforum field trip perhaps with old Ordnance Survey map and GPS location device?

    The tunnel is probably still there, it's just a question of finding it! ....... Well maybe a bit more to it than that before the new Windsor like is established.
     
  24. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    How does this idea fit in with the Peel Holdings plans for the proposed Port Salford complex?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Posting # 18 describes matters circa 1970. How will the advent of time since then have caused tunnel matters to deteriorate?
     
  25. Wavertreelad

    Wavertreelad Member

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    Sorry to disappoint but I doubt anybody who backed the MSC at the time of it's construction could have foreseen that ships would grow in the way in the way they have. As somebody who can remember the ships calling at Manchester, it is not just the size that caused the run down, but it was the change to containers that really did it. A ship only earns money for the owner when it is at sea carrying cargo, so a 12 hour plus navigation of the canal in each direction, plus the need to enter and leave the system at high tide only cost shipowners dearly, compared to berthing the same ship at Liverpool or Birkenhead. Additionally most of the larger ships that used the canal had to have their funnels removed at Eastham in order to have sufficient air draft to pass under the bridges further up the canal. This all added to the cost and time the port call took and coupled to a slow turnaround, compared to a containership, the writing was on the wall. For a matter of interest Manchester Liners vessels, and several vessels of the Clan Line, FC Strick (Strick Line), Ellerman Lines, Furness Withy and Harrison Line fleets had vessels that were designed with relatively low superstructures and funnels so they avoided the need to remove the funnels. The result was a somewhat squat appearance, similar to the way the current ACL G3 vessels and their newbuilds that will be launched next year will look, as both are designed to pass under various bridges in New York to reach their berths. This link shows a Clan Line example of the design as well as size of ship. http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=339035

    This size was typical of the size of vessel that used the Canal up to the early 1970's, I'm not sure about a 35000 tonne vessel transiting the Canal would be possible, although it would depend on the dimensions and draft, but for starters the biggest ship allowed would have to fit in the largest lock at Eastham, possibly with two tugs. Mersey river tugs were not allowed in the Canal because the two ports were owned by separate companies, unlike today. For your guidance the published dimension of Eastham Lock is 600ft x 80ft whereas Gladstone Lock, the entrance to Seaforth is what is known as Panamax and that's 1070ft x 140ft and will take a draft of up to about 12.5 meters and ships of up to 65000/70000 tonnes - ie the sort that you see carrying grain or coal in Gladstone Dock or Seaforth. Langton Lock is slightly smaller and can handle vessels up to 40000 tonnes at least I believe, and is much bigger than Eastham. Today the largest regular ship to transit the canal as far as Irlam is the BG Lines Feeder which is usually about 350 teu, but in theory you might get a 450/500 teu feeder. These ships can usually navigate the Canal without the need for tugs, provided they are fitted with bow thrusters and the Master/members of the crew have completed the necessary course to navigate the canal without a pilot. If the course has not been passed, the vessel must use a Canal pilot by law or will not be allowed to proceed up the canal. Most of the regular vessels and crews still using the Canal will have such qualifications. I'm not aware of vessels using the canal in convey formation, rather the contrary because the resultant wash would seriously damage the banks, and if you have ever stood on the bank at Stanlow like I have waiting to cross the canal in the motor launch, you will kno know at first hand what this is like, and how dangerous it would when ships are moored alongside berths on the canal, such as those at Stanlow, etc.

    Going back to when the Canal was constructed 1887 onwards, it was only about 40 years since the Rainhill Trials and the merchants of Manchester who backed the Canal needed to bypass Liverpool so they could control the costs and distribution of the imports, as well the manufactured exports. Building a railway or series of railway lines to move the same volume as that of a ship at the time would have been far more costly and less reliable. As time has shown, ships are very good for moving large quantities of bulk cargo in one movement from one location to another. That is still the same principle today, except that nowadays using a container is the preferred route for smaller shipments as it provides all the security and flexibility of the ship, but also the benefits of being able to ships many containers from one location to another in a single movement.

    The Manchester Ship Canal Company was until Peel purchased it a private company and when it built the Canal, it acquired the land either side it in order to protect it's asset. The industry which built up along the canal were all largely private operators, but as the canal company is also obliged by statute to maintain the canal as a condition of it's construction, it has a dual role as landlord to these private wharves. I'm not sure what sort of other industries you could attract to a canal site given that in your own words the canal suits the movement of bulk goods. This still remains the case today.

    Absolutely correct, as mentioned earlier the Manchester Ship Canal is obliged to keep the canal navigable and maintained by statute.

    Not correct for the reasons stated above, the stretch from Eastham to Runcorn is still in daily use by commercial craft, especially to the Stanlow /Ellesmere Port area. Peel is also spending a small fortune developing a small container facility and freight village at Port Salford, and has presently up to three sailing a week up to Irlam with containers. Peel also have plans to develop Action Grange near Warrington as well as the old Bowaters site at Ellesmere Port. Closing the canal is not going to happen in our lifetimes.
     
  26. UrbanWorld

    UrbanWorld Member

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    You haven't disappointed me. ;)
    They could have. Look at the Great Eastern which was decades before the canal was built. It could not sail up the canal. Steam ships were well established by the time of the canal's opening. There are a number of points about the canal. First, was why it was built in the first place when a large port is nearby. Myth in Manchester states that the Port of Liverpool overcharged. This was not the case as Liverpool always had spare capacity, so matters were negotiable. If Liverpool overcharged, Manchester organisations could always use Garston which was a separate port and if Garston was bursting at the seams because of Manchester trade, it could build extra docks. Garston had two docks by the start of the canal construction, with consideration for another. The larger Stalbridge Dock was opened in 1907, a few years after the canal opened. Manchester never extensively used Garston. In fact Elders Fyffes moved from Manchester to Garston around 1912 finding the port more convenient than Manchester Docks. The rail companies overcharged, not Liverpool.

    I have read some of the legal transcripts into the hearings of the construction of the canal. Some were laughable. One was that Liverpool had little quayside storage of cargos, unlike Lancaster, and charged for lengthy storage, unlike Lancaster. The success of Liverpool was getting cargos off ships and away to the customer ASAP. The customer then could store at their location not at the port. This cleared the sheds and quays quick for the next ship giving a great turnaround and high port throughput. If you cluttered the port by not collecting your cargo then the port charged for it. Liverpool had to, to make the port efficient.

    All the canal company had to do was build a railway, not a very expensive to build canal. This requires an act of parliament and of course objections from other rail operators would come in, but I would see no real objections to building their own railway adding competition.

    The Rainhill trials were in the late 1820s, 60 years before the construction of the canal started, not 40. In those 60 years technology and industry advanced so quickly, the period was unrivalled to any other time in history.

    You mentioned the sailing time up and down the canal and being delayed by tides as well. This was a real economic concern. And also the fact that if one of the locks is out of commission your ship may be held up for days. Indeed this did occur in the early 70s when a ship rammed a lock gate, locking up about 25 ships of all sizes in Manchester for about a week. Some lines never went back again too often.

    The canal above Runcorn is now a glorified large barge canal like seen on the Continent. The container "ships" taking containers from Liverpool are motorized barges, like seen on the Continent. A few coaster sized bulk carrying ships make it to Irlam each week.

    The biggest obstacles to having largish ships run up the canal are the low bridges and narrow locks. The three locks are relatedly cheaply widened, but raising the bridges is another matter. Hence why the canal will remain a glorified barge canal.

    Only the section of canal that the Mersey runs through may be kept. In fact the drainage can be put back to the original river bed which parallels most of its length. The rest of the canal can be filled in above Runcorn and traffic moved to more flexible rail, which is not dependent on tides. Traffic above Runcorn is currently poor and Peel hope it will improve with their Port Salford and Port Warrington. We shall see.

    The only way the canal can be used extensively above Runcorn is if Manchester turns back to manufacturing, its historical bedrock, instead of trying to be a commercial city.

    So why was this expensive to construct ship canal built when logic dictated it should not be? It was built primarily to make Manchester an important city. Important cities were always ports - and that is still the case today.
     
    Last edited: 30 Dec 2014
  27. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Indeed, the Ship Canal made Manchester the 3rd busiest port in the UK handling at its peak twice the tonnage of Liverpool and even in its final year it was still handling a third of the total. Hardly a white elephant. It was cheaper to import to Manchester through Hull than nearby Liverpool due to monopolistic practises so they cut out the middleman.

    List of cities by population

    Tokyo-Port
    Jakata-Port
    Delhi- No Port
    Seoul- No Port
    Shanghai- Port
    Manilla- Port
    Karachi- Port
    New York- Port
    Sau Paulo- No Port
    Mexico City- No Port
    Beijing - No Port
    Guangzhou- Port
    Mumbai- Port in different region
    Keihanshin- No Port
    Moscow- No Port
    Cairo- No Port (Port Said 4 hours away)
    Los Angeles- Port
    Kolkata- River Port like Manchester, limited tonnage
    Bangkok- River Port like Manchester, limited tonnage
    Dhaka- No port

    So of the 20 largest cities in the world only 8 have integrated ports, 2 have ports some distance away and two are river ports with the same restricted tonnage as Manchester
    Your theory that all the greatest cities are ports kind of falls down.
     
    Last edited: 30 Dec 2014
  28. UrbanWorld

    UrbanWorld Member

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    Will you please give a link that a few docks at the end of a long canal, that can fit in corner of the Port of Liverpool and not be noticed, handled more cargo than Liverpool? BTW, the Tranmere oil terminal is in the Port of Liverpool and the tonnage of oil is rather high. Also throw in Garston Docks which are inside the city of Liverpool. What are the figures on ship movements compared to the estuary ports? I can't find any figures on Google. Manchester Docks were busy during both world wars and in the boom after WW2. Once the economy and trade settled to normal patterns Manchester was not a big player. It was only really suitable for bulk cargo to a single customer. Like Kelloggs. Initially on opening there was fear Salford docks would close as no one would use them. Liverpool lines started to use it and saved the port from being strangled at birth.

    Manchester did deal in containers in the late 1960s, which prolonged the inevitable, as did Garston around that time, which also had full electric rail into the docks, as it does now. The two ports were quick to grasp containers, as the first container ship to berth in the UK was only in 1966. Both were ahead of the port of Liverpool, which did deal in containers but not with dedicated container handling facilities. Liverpool was planning a new large container terminal with the world's largest docks gates. It opened in 1971, five years after the first container ship docked in the UK.

    The only reason the canal was built to was to project the image of Manchester and give kudos. At no time did the docks at Manchester ever make sense when a massive port was down the road. BTW, many ships could have used the canal but chose not to, not all ships all are 300,000 tons. And containers is not the only cargo carried.

    I do not know what the biggest ship that can sail up the canal these days, omitting the lock gate restrictions. I wager a lot larger than 36,000 tons. If the docks were viable (Peel are attempting to build another port at Salford), the three locks would be widened to maximum width and the bridges raised. It is not viable and the canal will function only as a large barge canal above Runcorn. I did read at one time it was proposed the canal was to be abandoned above Runcorn as the cost of maintenance was too great for a few coasters a week.

    If Port Salford fails, I see the best use for it as a route for high-speed rail. A very straight and direct route.

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    You never read what I wrote. There was no monopolistic practices at the Port of Liverpool. It is all Manchester myth. This monopolistic view was an excuse for Manchester to build a port where a port should not have been. It was the rail companies who hyped the transport costs. That is why it made more sense for the canal company to build a cluster of docks at Eastham, with ships having a quick turn around not being 36 miles up a canal, and using its own rail line to Manchester with as many rail freight terminals as it liked all over the Manchester region.

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    Manchester is not a river port, it was an artificial port. Well was one until it closed down. Many on the list have adjacent ports. You forgot London, Hamburg, San Francisco, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc, etc. All large commercial important cities. Even Chicago is a port. Most important cities, and especially trading centres in the world are ports. Ports are natural commercial centres by their make up, nature and trade. Manchester tried to be one and failed. The city should concentrate on its core root of which it was excellent at, manufacturing. It was the world's first manufacturing city and should be proud of that and get back to its roots.
     
    Last edited: 30 Dec 2014
  29. muddythefish

    muddythefish Established Member

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    Liverpool v Manchester. Twas always thus. And no one's mentioned football yet.

    With regards to manufacturing and Manchester, like Liverpool and much of the north suffered terribly in the 1980s thanks to the policies of who-know-who which left its industrial base decimated. I read recently that JCB suppliers and components were 80 per cent British 30 years ago, most of them based in Manchester. It is now down to 30 per cent. I'm sure Manchester would love to get back to its manufacturing roots - the problem is the skills and expertise have been lost.
     
  30. UrbanWorld

    UrbanWorld Member

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    Liverpool never tried to compete with Manchester at all. Manchester tried it with Liverpool at every angle. Even after the ship canal was built the port of Liverpool kept expanding with large docks being built: Gladstone, Vittoria, Bidston, the Dingle Oil terminal and the Tranmere oil terminal. GRaving docks were being added. Garston even built a new dock as well. The port is still expanding today.

    Skills can be re-learned. Manchester is deceiving itself if it thinks it will be a major commercial city. It will not. HMG favouring Manchester is going against the natural flow, wasting money and time. It is best that young men are working with hydraulics rather than getting fat sitting at desks doing back office work for London companies - cheap labour. Manchester needs to be in charge of its own destiny and not be a puppet of London.

    The two cities are mutually exclusive. If Whitehall is taken out of the frame the two cities will find their natural complimenting niches.
     
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