A reader has suggested that I cover the news of Manchester Metrolink’s recent vote to continue its hostile policy towards cyclists. I am not a fan of the Metrolink, mainly because its expansion has come at the expense of proper railways. The only parts which were purpose built are the city centre sections. These are the only parts of the Metrolink network which provide an advantage over trains, allowing transport within the city centre. When you look at journeys made with this part of the network, it is easy to realise just how small the centre of Manchester is and how unnecessary this bespoke part of the Metrolink network is. For example, if you live in Bury and were to get the train into Manchester to go to the Arndale before the Metrolink, you would have to walk from Victoria Station to Market Street (Back then you could have brought your bike with you for the trip too). Nowadays that isn’t a problem, the tram removes this arduous slog from the aforementioned trip. A quick look at a map however, and it is easy to realise that you could have easily walked the 700 metres from the station to the Market Street tram stop in the same amount of time.
The point I am trying to make is that the Metrolink is only useful for getting about in a city centre environment and shouldn’t be used as an expensive replacement for real railways. In a city centre as compact as Manchester’s, it is completely useless anyway. At least if they hadn’t closed the railways people could move their bikes around the longer distances which the Metrolink expansions aim to cover. The most baffling thing I have come across is the planned Manchester Airport expansion, if bicycles cannot be squeezed onto a tram then what about a family of four going on holiday for two weeks, complete with luggage?
I don’t want to take a bicycle on the Metrolink. I just want my trains back.