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THE LATEST PICTURES in Eyewitness in Manchester are taken using my brand new Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera, illustrated on the masthead, upper right. Released in May 2000, It's a far cry from the first camera I used, back in the early 1960's, a Kodak Brownie identical to the one above on the left.

Seen from the Trafford Centre, the Good Year airship floats gracefully above the Manchester Ship Canal.

Here's an excerpt from the Manchester Evening News of May 1930:

"Britain's giant airship R100 passed over Manchester in brilliant sunshine soon after 11.30 today...

When the airship appeared over the city, Manchester was taken by surprise. She was flying so low that the noise of her engines drew thousands of people... The airship's number could be plainly seen. In the suburbs, housewives ran to their doors..."

(Sent by local history author Bill Jones)

The career of the airship ended in disaster in the late 1930's but soon it may make a comeback. I'd love to travel on an airship along the Manchester Ship Canal from Manchester to Liverpool, and take lots of aerial photos. Watch this space...

In 2000, rail travel in north west England still leaves much to be desired.

Delays and cancellations are a daily frustration for thousands of passengers, addressed patronisingly as 'customers' in station announcements.

The train on platform 14 here at Piccadilly Station is about to depart for Liverpool, but these 'customers' are waiting for another train, which has been delayed.

Eyewitness says: Follow Metrolink's example and address passengers as 'passengers'.

Railtrack, the company which owns stations, rail lines and associated property, are carrying out a major refurbishment programme on station buildings all over the UK.

In 1999, Piccadilly Station's 1842 train shed was completely refurbished. And in May 2000, new signs were unveiled, sporting a new colour scheme of blue, purple and grey.

The circular logo depicts a train crossing a railway viaduct, presumably the one in Stockport, used every dat by trains travelling between Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston.

Purple is said to be the colour of the millennium, but when it comes to trains, I prefer red.

A Virgin Trains electric locomotive stands on a central platform of the recently refurbished Piccadilly Station.

Despite the company name, this train is far from spotless: The front of the locomotive is covered in dirt and insect remains, and it's at least 20 years old. Can any railway buff provide details please? (See reply from Jim Wilkie)

It began its working life under British Rail, which was split up and privatised by the Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. Britain's most famous entrepreneur Richard Branson obtained the franchise to operate trains on the west coast line between London and the north west.

Within a couple of years, tilting high speed trains will be introduced, cutting the journey time between Manchester and London from 2 hours and 30 minutes to around one and three quarter hours.

These three axle Dennis buses with their bone-shaking suspension are operated by Stagecoach subsidiary Magic Bus.

This 143 has just taken on some passengers and is about to continue its journey to Piccadilly.

The 'student corridor' along Wilmslow Road from Didsbury to Manchester city centre is heavily used and very lucrative for bus operators.

Fares on Magic Bus are lower than on Stagecoach services. In May 2000, a Stagecoach 'Megarider' weekly ticket costs £5.70 when purchased on a Magic Bus and £6.70 on a Stagecoach bus. On Magic Bus, the fare into Manchester from this stop is 45p.

This long straight road is lined with rows of typical late 19th century terraced houses.

From their front bedrooms residents have a view over the playing fields of Manchester University.

The distinctive flat-topped street lights are over 40 years old and unique to this road, which is named after a famous 18th century landowner whose name was also given to a street in the city centre, and a road in Trafford park.

Can you name this road? E-mail info (at) aidan.co.uk

In 2000, traffic congestion in Manchester city centre appears to be getting worse all the time. Ever increasing numbers of cars on the road, exacerbated by bus lanes, road narrowing, road closures due to construction work, and pedestrianisation of city centre streets, all add up to more and more traffic jams, such as this one on Oxford Road, captured at about 5.20pm on Wednesday 10 May.

Two east-west transport arteries cross over Oxford Road in this view - the Oxford Road to Piccadilly railway line in the foreground, and the Mancunian Way (A57M) in the distance. In the far distance can be seen the Manchester University Precinct Centre, built above Oxford Road.

 

Red and green are the dominant May colours in the suburbs of Manchester and other British cities - the red brick of the houses in bright sunshine, and the lush green of the grass and the leaves, which have only recently appeared.

This view was made possible by the removal of a house which used to stand on this site, now grassed over.

Recognise the location? E-mail info (at) aidan.co.uk

This green and pleasant spot will be obliterated by the office block set to occupy this end of Piccadilly Gardens after the City of Manchester local authority have implemented their controversial redevelopment plan.

As architectural historian Professor John Archer remarked recently, this tree-lined view of the former warehouses designed by Edward Walters, architect of the Free Trade Hall, is one of the finest in Manchester.

Enjoy it while it's still there.

 

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