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Manchester Piccadilly Station
Member Name: Mrs-LT
Manchester Piccadilly Station
Advantages: Lots of shops and places to eat and drink, very modern
Disadvantages: Distance to platforms 13 and 14, split levels
As you may know from my reviews yesterday, I recently travelled by train to Manchester and therefore ended up departing at Manchester Piccadilly.
Although my ticket said 'Manchester Stations' which meant I could have chosen to stay on the train until Manchester Oxford Road station, I chose to leave at Piccadilly because it is my favourite of the Manchester stations by far. In fact it is my favourite train station out of all the ones I have travelled to countrywide.
It actually has better facilities than your average regional airport, and in recent years benefitted from a major redevelopment and modernisation project and this really shows!
It has two entrances, one on the level of the station (Piccadilly Approach)and one below. The Fairfield Street entrance (the one below ground level) serves the car park, taxi rank, and the Manchester Metrolink station.
Piccadilly Station has a fantastic central location, within a couple of minutes walk of 4* hotels and the main shopping district, which explains why it is the city's main station.
The main concourse contains ticket offices, information points, seating, public toilets, shops and places to eat and drink. There is also a mezanine level which houses more eateries and bars including KFC. The station has a wide range of places to eat and drink including Boost Juice and Smoothie Bar, KFC (I wish this was McDonalds instead!), Upper Crust, Burger King, Starbucks and Costa. Shops include Superdrug, Sainsburys, Thorntons, WH Smith and Tie Rack.
I have 4 main bugbears with the station, and they are not major by any stretch of the imagination.
1 - It is not all on one level, and to get to the taxi rank you need to go down 2 escalators which is annoying more than anything. A lift is available but I only use lifts if I have a big suitcase otherwise.
2 - Two platforms (13 and 14)are right away from the main concourse and involve quite a long walk, although there is a moving walkway if you aren't feeling energetic. I am only really annoyed by this because it is always my train that seems to be leaving from one of these platforms.
3 - While there are lample counter service eateries, there are not enough seats in the station for you to ever find one (especially as the majority of people sitting on the seats downstairs are waiting for trains rather than sitting down to have a snack). I think that the sandwich bars should offer their own seating. KFC does this upstairs which is a great idea and they do have a sizeable number of seats available. Sometimes Upper Crust put out one tiny table and chair but I don't think this is really sufficient.
4 - I think the choice of shops could be a bit better thought out though. Sainsburys is a little mini supermarket which is great for picking up bits and pieces but I have to admit I am a tad confused about its location in a train station. Accessorize and Tie Rack could be replaced by something with more universal appeal and there is a real need for a shop to buy kids' toys from I think, as I know lots of people like to take presents home after trips away and business trips normally mean no time to visit the main shopping centres. I also think either KFC or Burger King should be replaced by McDonalds as I like neither of them! But that's just me of course!
Overall though it is a real inspiration of a station - modern and well equipped where you can easily arrive early for your train and spend some time having a snack or browsing the shops. I wish all stations were this good!
Summary: Don't even think about using any other Manchester station!
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