Today, (11th March) I have been into Manchester for the first time in over 2 years under severe duress. However my wife wanted to go shopping and also wanted to go and see some of her friends in Bury. So off we tootle into Manchester and park up on the G-Mex car park. Me, informing my wife its cheaper than the city centre car parks. As were going to Bury first, we proceed to the G-Mex metrolink station, proceed to buy our ticket, 2.60 each! And then wait for the tram. Okay before I get into a full blown rant about the Metrolink, here's the history lesson. The Metrolink opened was opened in 1992 at a cost of 152 million pounds. Using old railway tracks, the service runs between Bury in North Manchester to Altrincham in South Manchester, running through the city centre with a spur off to the cities Piccadilly Train station. This means that both the major train stations of Manchester are also linked. The plan for the Metrolink was too ease the congestion between commuter areas and the city, and having used the Metrolink for many a year I can say with the number of people who use it, it does work. However, this is where my moan about the Metrolink starts. As the tram arrived the first thing I noticed was how dirty the tram was. I don't mean dirty as in cant see out of the windows dirty, but dirty as in grubby dirty. Let me elaborate. When the trams where new the whole thing shone when you looked at it. This tram was either rust coloured or had light moss growing on the rubber bits such as the suspension and the rubber curtain, which separates the two compartments. It just looked as if it hadn't been used for months. I just put this down as a one off and pushed the button to open the doors. Eeeep! the inside is no better, it made me cringe. When I had used the Mertolink to go to work, the trams where fairly new, the floors where light grey and the rest of the interior was grey with bits
of green in it. The seats where green with black flecks in them. This however was a very different tram. The floor was filthy, I mean dirty. You could see grey bits but most of it was either dirt coloured or black, some of it was bulging as if the glue holding the flooring down had given up the ghost and let go. Anyway, I thought this is a one off, enjoy the journey. 25 minutes later I am stood in the centre of Bury waiting for our friends. The one thing the Metrolink has going for it is it runs very close to the timetable. Its now two hours later and we go to get back on the tram and again I am greeted at the station by the dirtiest, uncleanest tram I have even seen, my wife thought it was the same one that we came to Bury on. It wasn't! It was definitely a different tram. Either that or somebody had changed the advertising posters on the first tram. The tram sped back to Manchester and we disembarked at Victoria station and proceeded to shop till we dropped in Manchester. Now we ended up at the Arndale centre for our last shopathon and decided to get the tram back to the car park, mainly cos I had about 6 shopping backs and my wife nearly as many. So the tram arrives. Again its filthy. No way can this be the same tram as the previous two times, where talking Twilight Zone scary if it was! This third tram however did have one redeeming feature and that was the driver who was super nice and announced all the station names as though it was the last time he would ever do it, with real effort and enthusiasm. Made me smile anyway. Overall I do like the Metrolink and if I had to travel into Manchester everyday again, I would rather use it than the car, although my car is a lot nicer to be sat in than the trams we sat on today. Its fast and runs nearly to the timetable, but I cannot believe the operator has let its rolling stock go to pot in such a short time. I know its public transport but at least tr
y to make it look clean, the last tram I got on had Cigarette dimps in the floor, and your not even allowed to smoke on it! With the Commonwealth games coming to the city shortly I would hope that they are going to clean them up, how expensive can a coat of paint and an interior clean be?