Making our way to Victoria Railway Station, we passed the Shudehill Interchange where First's Optare Solo 40331 (ML02 OGA) was working the circular service from Victoria Station to Oxford Road Station.
Manchester Victoria dates from 1844 and the imposing façade, built by William Dawes in 1909, still lists the many places served by the respective railway companies, as diverse as Scotland and Ireland, to the more local Bury (now served by Metrolink) and Fleetwood (closed to passengers on 18 April 1966).
Having established where the free Vintage Bus Service departed from, we had a short wait. In the meantime, Arriva's DAF/Ikarus Y37 KNB passed on an M10 from Brookhouse.
Our vintage service was operated by Leyland Titan PD3/4 / East Lancs. TTD 386H, a vehicle new to SELNEC in November 1969 wearing Bolton Corporation livery. It is seen below after arrival at the Museum, a journey which only took around 15 minutes.
There was a special event taking place at the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport, namely the Spring Transport Festival taking place over the weekend. This meant a number of vehicles could be seen at the front. Amongst these was ex-SELNEC 1700 (YDB 453L), a Seddon Pennine IV with Seddon DP20F body, new in October 1972. I recall such vehicles many years ago operating the free service between Manchester and Piccadilly Railway Stations!
Another vehicle of interest was TRN 481V an immaculately preserved ex-Ribble Leyland Atlantean / ECW, dating from 1980.
A general view of the vehicles on display at the front of the Museum.
The publicity poster advertised over 150 stalls selling transport ephemera, and we certainly were not disappointed by what we found! My co-Editor added to his extensive tie and book collection and I purchased a couple of photographs from another stall of Lincolnshire Road Car vehicles!
Ironically, I found one stall selling various transport signs amongst them being this one with a local connection to me!
Photographing the internal exhibits proved to be rather challenging, particularly as they were so closely parked together. Amongst them was DB5070, a Tilling-Stevens TS6 dating from 1925.
Also of interest was Manchester TNA 520, a Leyland PD2 with Burlingham body dating from 1958.
Not only buses are displayed, but also an extensive collection of transport ephemera including this assortment of bus stop signs.
Another item of interest was this Yelloway sign.
Also on display, a large collection of models in North Western Road Car livery.
And also an authentic North Western poster, interestingly featuring an Alexander Y type bodied vehicle.
Return to Manchester was on ex-Wigan Corporation HEK 705, a Leyland PD3A/2 with Massey body dating from 1961. Some video footage of it working an earlier departure can be seen below.
Having returned to Manchester, we called at the impressively dome refreshment room at Victoria Station, and thence briefly called into a nearby Lloyds bar for some refreshment. Must admit to being rather disconcerted by seeing doormen working on a Sunday afternoon!After a brief tram ride, We then used what remaining daylight was left to photograph anything of interest, initially Metrolink tram 1004 at Piccadilly Gardens on its way to Bury.
At Mosley Street we saw Magic Bus (also owned by Stagecoach) 15183 (M683 TDB), a tri-axle Dennis Dragon transferred from Stagecoach Kenya in 1998.
At St Peter's Square, amongst vehicles noted was Arriva's M217 AKB, an East Lancs-bodied Dennis Dart which had worked a service 99 from Sale. In the background is the Library Theatre built in 1934.
Making our way to Chorlton Street, we encountered one of the vehicles which had been attending the event at the Museum, very much within its former territory. Ex-Greater Manchester PTE 8551 (ANA 551Y), a Leyland Atlantean with Northern Counties body dating from 1982.
Also seen at Portland Street was Finglands Volvo / Alexander 1743 (N743 VBA).
We eventually reached the site of the former Chorlton Street Coach Station, much rebuilt and on Monday 25 March 2002 it reopened as Manchester Central Coach Station, a vast improvement on the former dark and dismal place. I took a quick photograph below, the nearest vehicle being Go Northern's 7084 (Y784 MFT), a Volvo B10M-62 with Plaxton Paragon body working the 1530 service 380 from Liverpool to Newcastle-upon-Tyne (rather ironic as I'd travelled from there the day before!).
In the interests of saving a walk, we noticed the Transpeak service was due at 1700, which meant just a few minutes wait. Unfortunately, it was running around 10 minutes late and eventually we boarded Volvo B10M/Plaxton 60 (R960 RAU) and enjoyed the unusual luxury of a table on the short trip to Stockport! We also faced a slight diversion due to a gun being fired at a car in Longsight closing the main route (which is what delayed the service on its inward journey).
At Stockport bus station, there was just enough light to photograph a group of Stagecoach vehicles beneath the impressive viaduct which carries the main railway line between Manchester and Stockport. Opened in 1842, it has 27 arches, is 111 feet high, and was built using eleven million bricks.
Having had a good day and now somewhat tired, we adjourned to find the Wetherspoons. It was further from the bus station than I thought (possibly due to us taking a less than direct route). I was less impressed to find that where we needed to be involved climbing three flights of stairs! Luckily, an over-eager local showed us the way!
Suitably watered, we called for a pizza, then returned to the hotel by way of the 192. A brief rest at the hotel bar before retiring to our respective rooms to get some sleep before the return trip home the next day. (PW)