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On Friday I popped over to Manchester for a catch up with a few friends and chance to sample some of Manchester’s most atmospheric pubs. A bonus to this foray across the Pennines was the chance to check out progress on the refurbishment of Manchester Victoria station & Northern hub electrification work.

The ‘march of the masts ‘has progressed Eastwards from the station with the first concrete mast bases & uprights appearing past Cheetham Hill road bridge. Contact wires have been strung on all the through roads although there’s a lot of work to be done before they can be energised. The West end of the station appears to be fully wired. The area’s a veritable forest of masts & cables now. This has resulted in the loss of a well used photographic location because the view from the footbridge outside the station is obscured by the ‘knitting’. In addition, the bridge sides have been built up to protect unwary passengers from the overheads.

To give you an idea of the changes, here are two views. The first is from Friday:

DG207976. 142036. Manchester Victoria. 27.3.15.

Here’s the same view from atop the bridge in August 2013;

DG157867. 150115 150425. Manchester Victoria. 30.8.13.

In another new development, automatic ticket gates have appeared on the concourse between platforms 1-3, leading to some of the exits on platform 3 near the train crew office being blocked off. These were used by fare dodgers ‘in the know’ but also by staff slipping out for a fag break!

Progress on the roof & concourse is impressive. Many of the ETFE panels have been installed in the roof structure making Victoria watertight for the first time in decades! Hoardings have been stripped away from the concourse & much of the temporary raft protecting passengers from work above has been removed. This has really opened the area up. Now it’s possible to start to an impression of what the station will be like when it’s finally complete. The Metrolink tram stop has changed too. There’s now a maze of tram tracks leading out of the station into town as the junctions for the second crossing of the city have been installed. The tram stop has been remodeled to provide an extra platform & through road to cope with the vast increase in services. Work continues to the inside of the building with no major changes discernible to the public just yet – but it’s only a matter of time. It’s great to see a previously neglected Manchester gateway receiving the attention that it deserves.

Here’s a few more pictures from Friday:

DG207992.New tram tracks. Manchester Victoria. 27.3.15

The complex tram trackwork that accommodates the new second city crossing which branches off to the right of the picture.

DG208007.New tram tracks. Manchester Victoria. 27.3.15

Looking towards Victoria from Shudehill. The original tram tracks are on the right, whilst the new second city crossing is being built on the left.

Here’s something the public can’t yet see, one of the rooms under restoration;

DG205986. Restored room. Manchester Victoria. 24.2.15

One of the rooms in a main building alongside the tram stop. The tiles have all been cleaned and restored. The pattern on the floor gives away the shape of the former counter.

DG205993. Restored smoking room. Manchester Victoria. 24.2.15

This is an old smoking room.The panels have all been restored but the original seating has disappeared. This room won’t be seen by the public when the building reopens.

DG205999. Restored flooring. Manchester Victoria. 24.2.15

Ornate tiling in the smoking room.

If you want to see pictures of Manchester Victoria from the present day right back to the 1990’s – follow this link which will take you to a gallery on my website;