The laying of tram tracks proved a real show-stopper back at the start of the 20th century.
Crowds gathered at St Mary’s Gate in 1901 to witness the intricate intersection of lines being manoeuvred into place in Manchester city centre.
The photographer is looking toward Deansgate at its junction with Blackfriars Street. It was a time when trams were an established part of Manchester life.
The tracks were cast whole off-site and then fitted almost in one piece. It was certainly a powerful spectator experience as the watching crowd proves!
Trams reigned supreme as a means of public transport in Manchester right up to 1949. By 1930, the city’s tram network had grown to 163 miles, making it the third largest in the UK.
People lined the streets when the last tram left Hyde Road depot in January 1949. It was No. 1007 which travelled into Piccadilly then out along London Road before terminating at Birchfields Road.
Perhaps no-one who witnessed the moment would have imagined trams would make a comeback in the city. But that’s exactly what happened when a single line was opened in the early 1990s.
The service proved so successful that it was expanded. Manchester Metrolink now has eight lines radiating from the city centre along 64 miles of track. It is the largest light rail system in the UK.
There are terminals at Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury, East Didsbury, Eccles, Manchester Airport, Rochdale and the Trafford Centre.
Owned by Transport for Greater Manchester, Metrolink recorded 44.3 million passenger journeys in 2019/20.
Featured Image: Crowds gathered at St Mary’s Gate in 1901 – Source: iNostalgia Publishing / MirrorPix – The Changing Face of Manchester.