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Earlier this week I took advantage of the glorious weather & spent a couple of days shooting pictures in Manchester. What I saw on my travels made me realise what a vibrant & expanding place the city has become.

I first got to know Manchester back in the 1970s when it was a city in decline. The old industries were dying & the city centre reflected that. The place has been on the up since the late 1990s but the pace of change seems to have reached new heights. The amount of new building in the city is astonishing, not just in Manchester itself, but in Salford too.

One of the places I visited was the area around Salford central station. Redevelopment in the area has opened up new opportunities to get shots of the railway passing through the city. I’d been eyeing up construction of a multi-storey car park adjacent to the station. As it had opened I took the chance to see what views were available from the top floor & I was pleasantly surprised with the results. As I took in the views I realised just how much the city skyline has changed in the last decade. New buildings have appeared in all directions, especially towards the city centre. A few years ago the former railway goods yards around Salford central station were given over to car parks. Now those car parks are being built on as millions of pounds are invested in the area. This article from the Manchester Evening News describes what’s happening. Here’s a selection of shots taken from the roof of the car park.

The approaches to Salford Central from the East,looking towards Manchester Victoria. Northern's 319386 approaches with a service to Liverpool Lime St running on the newly electrified route via the original Liverpool & Manchester railway.

The approaches to Salford Central from the East,looking towards Manchester Victoria. Northern’s 319386 approaches with a service to Liverpool Lime St running on the newly electrified route via the original Liverpool & Manchester railway.

319371 is checked at signals adjacent to Salford Central station as it heads for Manchester Victoria. The city's changing skyline is evident in the picture.

319371 is checked at signals adjacent to Salford Central station as it heads for Manchester Victoria. The city’s changing skyline is evident in the picture.

60074 passes Salford West Junction with 6H43 the 11.10 Pendleton to Tunstead empty stone train.

60074 passes Salford West Junction with 6H43 the 11.10 Pendleton to Tunstead empty stone train.

Not all the land around has been redeveloped yet though, looking eastwards from the car park across the Ordsall viaduct there’s a large tract of derelict land where the Manchester Bolton & Bury canal basin resides. You can see it in this picture;

DG215617. 319363. Ordsall viaduct. 11.6.15

The area’s set for further change once construction of the Ordsall curve gets underway. This will be a new viaduct creating a triangular junction to allow trains from Manchester Victoria to run through to Manchester Piccadilly. You can find the details here.

The new line will cut across the dual carriageway & car parks shown in the foreground of this picture, before crossing the River Irwell on a viaduct.

DG215612

Leaving the car park I strolled along Quay Street where more reconstruction is taking place. Quay House, an old 8 story office block is being torn down as part of the Spinningfields redevelopment site

Out with the old & in with the new...

Out with the old & in with the new…

The remains of Quay House...

The remains of Quay House…

Just across the road from all the new building is the Castlefield conservation area – one of my favourite bits of the city. It’s a fascinating mix of eras that stretches right back to Roman times. There’s a rich mix of architecture & industrial archaeology. The area contains the world oldest railway station (Liverpool Rd, which is now a museum) as well as some superb bridges. Castlefield is criss-crossed by railways & canals which make a fantastic setting for pubs & restaurants which have sprung up in former warehouses & factories. Needless to say it’s also a great area for photography. Here’s a selection of shots from the area.

There's a plethora of plaques in Castlefield. This one celebrates the areas links with education & chemistry.

There’s a plethora of plaques in Castlefield. This one celebrates the areas links with education & chemistry.

This plaque celebrates less settled times when the area was a battlefield in the English civil war.

This plaque celebrates less settled times when the area was a battlefield in the English civil war.

Contrasts in Castlefield. The Rochdale canal and Manchester's tallest building, BeethamTower

Contrasts in Castlefield. The Rochdale canal and Manchester’s tallest building, BeethamTower

Grocers warehouse, the birthplace of the industrial revolution in Manchester

Grocers warehouse, the birthplace of the industrial revolution in Manchester

The changing face of freight traffic in Manchester. An intermodal train bound for Trafford Park passes the canals that kickstarted the industrial revolution

The changing face of freight traffic in Manchester. An intermodal train bound for Trafford Park passes the canals that kickstarted the industrial revolution

Leaving Castlefield behind I headed across to the old Manchester Central station to take a look at the expansion of Manchester metrolink. I’ll describe what I found in part 2.