Manchester’s railways past, present and future

Railways, Victoria dome from beneath

This morning’s broadcast of Making Manchester: The engineering of the first modern city is now available on Mixcloud here. It’s called Manchester on track and it looks at Manchester’s railways past, present and future.

Katie Belshaw, Curator of Engineering at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, tells us us about the first intercity railway – the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, engineered by the great George Stephenson and opened in 1830 – and how the railways transformed society. The oldest surviving intercity railway station can still be seen on MSI’s site, along with a Power Hall full of wonderful old machinery including railway engines and carriages from different centuries.

Next we visit Manchester Victoria Station to talk to Noel Connolly of Network Rail. Manchester Victoria had been voted worst Category B station in the country, but recently had a thoroughgoing – not to say moderately spectacular – redevelopment. Noel tells us about the redevelopment, and puts it in the context of a broader package of improvements to railways in and around Manchester.

Finally we meet Charlotte Bowen of HS2 Ltd to ask: What will High Speed Rail do for Manchester? Charlotte explains the rationale behind HS2, and the benefits to passengers and the economy, and looks at the possibilities for how the new 400-metre-long trains that travel at 225 mph will come into Manchester.

In a future programme we’ll take a close look at Manchester’s other rail network – the Metrolink light rail system – which now serves Greater Manchester.


Posted on January 18, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Can this be made into a podcast? Sounds interesting


  2. Hello Ed, thanks for your comment. There’s a recording of the programme on Mixcloud here: I hope you can access that, and that you enjoy it!


  3. Okay, thanks for the feedback, Ed. I’ll take that into consideration for the future.


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