Cuts to the Heritage Steam Service at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry; Removal of Heritage, or Improvements to the Modern Service?

Last week, the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry reported that they were stopping the steam service from the museum to former historic Liverpool Road Station, due to new plans that would sever it from the railway network.

Bosses at the museum (MoSI) stated that they have agreed a secret deal with Network Rail to drop their objection to the firm’s bid to build an £85m bridge across the River Irwell at Castlefield, known as the ‘Ordsall Chord’, This would link the two main stations for the first time, improving Manchester’s train bottleneck, and providing a direct route to the airport from northern cities.

At its’s cost it will mean Liverpool Road station, which is the world’s oldest intercity station which has a 180-year-old history, will be cut off. This has led to volunteers at the museum fear for the future of the museum’s own steam trains – which carry visitors along a half-mile stretch of track.

Media Mogal and Railway Buff,  Pete Waterman said;

You can’t hold up progress. It’s an emotive issue because of this station and it was always going to be a contentious issue.

“But everyone in the north west as far as Leeds will benefit and the science museum is always strapped for money.”

“We’ve got to look practically at the Ordsall Chord because of what it does for Manchester, we’ve got to look at the bigger picture. There’s a congestion problem between Piccadilly and Oxford Road and the Chord removes it, it’s as simple as that.

“Nobody is more passionate about steam engines than me – I’ve probably spent more money than anyone preserving them – but you can’t ask commuters in Manchester to suffer for history. I don’t want to stand in the way of the next generation of young people who want to commute by train.”

“It’s all about the costs, for the amount of steam engines that come out of there, the cost is out of proportion to the cause. Only a few of us will miss the steam engines and that’s the price of progress we have to pay. To me, it’s amazing they are still on the network at all.”

Of course, adding Liverpool Road Station in the plans would make the costs skyrocket, so, but it was mentioned that science museum  could move to Bury, where steam trains can be seen on the line to Rochdale.

Keith Whitmore, who us the former chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, has described plans as a “slap in the face for heritage tourism”. Also, a museum spokeswoman said it had withdrawn its objection “only after months of much hard work and complex negotiations’. She said the museum’s own steam train would still operate, but with a ‘shorter run”. “We tried very hard to change the proposed route, but, at the end of the day, we have the responsibility to care for this beautiful and historic site, no matter how the world changes around us.”

At the moment, there is nothing stating what will happen. We don’t know what will happen Liverpool Road Station will be demolished, or how much the heritage steam service will be cut, but I suppose we will have more on this in the future.

Thanks for reading.

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