My commute is about to change. Metrolink are, apparently, going to do wonderful things to St Peter’s Square tram stop. Unfortunately this means that they’re closing it for eight weeks.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time working out the best way to accomplish my work commute into Manchester. On paper it isn’t far. However, getting in and out of Manchester city centre in a car – not to mention parking for less than a kidney – is quite taxing. I began by driving in, but after queuing on Princes Parkway, then the Mancunian Way, and circling like a shark for nonexistent parking spaces, I decided that driving part-way and getting the tram might be the answer.
It’s been a big improvement. Not so much for journey time; that’s about the same. It’s about being in the car for 25 minutes instead of an hour (and sometimes much longer), sneaky people-watching, the thrill of playing chicken with the ticket machine – which will arrive first, off-peak fares or the tram? – and saving on parking costs, petrol, and sheer frustration. Did I mention that Metrolink trams now have free wifi?
So goodbye for now, tram. I’ll miss you. And here’s my tram commute in photo form, on a typically grey Manchester day (click on any photo to enlarge it). Except for the start and end photos, this is what I see most days through the tram window. For eight months or so, it’s been my shipping forecast. Stretford, Old Trafford, Trafford Bar, Cornbrook, Deansgate-Castlefield, St Peter’s Square, Piccadilly Gardens, Piccadilly.
Where we begin. We all watch for the ticket machine to flip to off-peak, edging closer by the second and watching the arrivals display (if it’s working).
A robot elephant jumble.
This really is the view: the platform is tiny. From here the tram labours up to Cornbrook.
As far as I know Cornbrook is just a tram interchange. It’s up in the air; nothing to do but wait for another tram.
Getting into Manchester proper; G-Mex as was, now Manchester Central for exhibitions.
St Peter’s Square
Here is the beautiful Central Library which overlooks the tram stop. The tents in the doorway are part of a protest for homeless rights which was taking place outside the library when I took the photo. A Guardian article on the subject is here.
This is where I scrabble in my work bag for my lanyard and badge.
Wish me luck for Monday.