On Saturday, whilst Christine was working, I took myself off to the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester. I’ve been meaning to go for a while, but the recent opening of Queens Road Metrolink station nearby has made it somewhat easier to get to. Although railway engineering works, and the temporary closure of the Metrolink platforms at Victoria station, meant that it was still something of a trek taking a couple of hours each way from Sowerby Bridge. Normally, it’d take around an hour.
Anyway, the museum. It’s in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, to the north of the city centre, and is housed in the back of what was the Queens Road tramshed for Manchester Corportation Tramways – now used by First buses as a bus depot. It’s home to a wide variety of buses that operated in or are linked with Greater Manchester, plus a few other bits and bobs. But mostly buses – other forms of transport were not very well represented.
There are three trams, only one of which is complete (a horse tram). Of the others, one is Metrolink 1000, a half-tram mock-up of what would become the production T68 tram series. The T68s have only recently been retired from revenue service in Manchester and I imagine that a production model may enter the collection when one is preserved. The other bit of tram is the lower passenger compartment of what was originally a double decker tram, in the process of being restored.
There are also re-created transport offices, as well as an extensive collection of bus tickets, roller blinds and old signs. But, buses form the main attraction here.
On the whole I found it interesting but it’s not as good as other transport museums – particularly the excellent London Transport Museum. You definitely need to be more of a transport geek to enjoy it, and I’m sure Christine would have been bored stiff by it had I dragged her along. (I very nearly did last summer, but we ended up going bra shopping instead.)
The museum is open three days a week – Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, or all week in August. Entry is only £4 for adults, and free for accompanied under-16s, which is good value for a museum that can keep your average transport geek occupied for a couple of hours.