Thursday, 19 November 2009

To Manchester and Back

I've been to Manchester and back today. The trains were on time and comfortable and - apart from costing £43.00 - this really is the way to travel.

I wish the trains were built less to look like the inside of aircraft and that they were longer (it gets crowded and feels a bit claustrophobic) but maybe that "aircraft" ambience is what attracts people more used to air travel these days?

One big plus point was that I was able to work on the train. I have a lot of deadlines lately and I really needed some productive work time without interruptions. The two journeys allowed that to happen and have effectively given me an evening off this evening.

I noticed that the Metrolink (Manchester's tramway system) was giving free rides today as a sot of "thank you" to regular passengers for putting up with a great deal of disruption in recent months during a big upgrade. Unfortunately, as I was there to earn a living I didn't actually get a tram ride. Not fair! :-)

My final musing on the Cottonopolis is to ask this: In the eighties, when Manchester was such a grim, post-industrial hole of a city, the Piccadilly Gardens were a lovely oasis of greenery in the centre; today, with Manchester enjoying an urban renaissance worthy of Birmingham, Newcastle or Leeds, why have they concreted over the gardens and placed a silly, unfinished-looking concrete wall of the type demolished 20 years ago this month in Berlin in the middle?

As they say Oop North: there's now so queer as folk!

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