Trafford Park midwinter

Arriva 3099, this VDL SB200 with Wright Pulsar 2 body was only around a year old on 20th December 2012 when I captured it on a foul, dark day using a high ISO setting on my camera. It can be seen passing the Imperial War Museum North on the southern quays of the Manchester Ship Canal.

The bus is bound for Exchange Quay, a tramway interchange stop just on the north side of the ship canal on Trafford Road in the borough of Salford.

Ignorance of the local geography can cause offence in Greater Manchester. The winding River Irwell mostly marks the boundary between the Siamese twin cities Manchester and Salford, er… except for the parts of Broughton and Kersal that encroach on Mancunian territory… it gets complicated. As a rule, the good people of Salford do not like to be referred to as “Mancunians”.

This is Trafford Wharf Road in the modern-day borough of Trafford [not the city of Manchester either], running along the quayside and the northern boundary of the Trafford Park industrial estate. This was the first planned industrial estate in the world and remains the biggest in Europe. Its origins go back to the 1890s when the Manchester Ship Canal was under construction and the site became ripe for industrial development next to the developing inland seaport.

Since the photo was taken, the construction site behind the museum has become itv Studios, part of the Media City complex with the BBC back then already well-established on the north quays in Salford. The Quays had fallen into disuse for the most part, shipping traffic having dwindled to a few passages each week. Much of the waste land has been reclaimed for residential and retail blocks, a theatre and exhibition space and a concentration of media centres.

Eight years later 3099 is still in service at Arriva North West’s Wythenshawe depot. You can check its whereabouts using this remarkable resource using open data broadcast by buses’ ticket machines. As you will see, it still plies the 245 service sometimes but no longer serves the quays, the service having been cut back to terminate at the Trafford Centre: a perfect place for a day out if you like fake plastic trees.

While we are here, have a couple more views from the same location that week. A Stagecoach Dennis Trident/Enviro 400 travelling from the Trafford Centre to Piccadilly passing the Towers of Gold [Peel Holdings HQ]:

Stagecoach 15932

A Bluebird Bus & Coach Enviro 200 with MCV body passing the itv site. This operator was actually taken over by Stagecoach the month before, pending an OFT enquiry which in the end allowed the sale to proceed.

Bluebird UU08BLU