Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester
Journey through time!
If you fancy a really interesting, unusual and enjoyable day out, why not pay a visit to Greater Manchesters Museum of Transport? It is just like taking a trip back in time as you wander through one of Britains biggest collection of restored trams, buses and coaches.
Your amazing time-travelling journey will take you all the way from an elaborately painted Victorian open-top horse drawn bus, to the streamlined prototype of Manchesters Metrolink tram. In between youll be able to see and sit in fascinating vehicles that range from a 1920s solid-tyred bus, to early trams, trolley buses and even the charras that took Manchester folk on their outings to the coast and countryside.
A fascinating journey through time
The moment you walk through the doors, its like stepping back into another era. Youll find yourself transported to an age when all the local authorities around Manchester, plus many private operators too, ran their own public transport fleets - proudly painted in local colours and adorned with the Corporations crest. Youll be reminded of a more tranquil age when these mighty buses and trams, with their drivers and clippies, were the most familiar form of transport for virtually everyone.
You will discover around ninety vintage vehicles, many of which have been fully restored and now look resplendent in their original liveries. Pride of place in the museum must go to the Victorian horse drawn bus, circa 1890. It is a wonderful example of an early public transport vehicle and you can see exactly how passengers would have travelled about town at the turn of the nineteenth century.
Many of the restored buses are maintained in tiptop roadworthy condition and can be driven on public roads. Indeed they often attend events around the country where they attract enormous interest. When the museum holds its frequent Special Event Weekends, the classic buses are used to provide a free shuttle service, ferrying visitors to the museum from Manchester Victoria rail station.
Manchesters golden age of transport
Buses on display range from ancient and austere single-deckers with massive cast iron wheels, solid rubber tyres and very few passenger comforts, to more recent vehicles recalling the period when deregulation saw the emergence of new local operators.
All you need to know
Every vehicle has an accompanying information board so you will be able to read all about the points of technical interest as well as, of course, its full history - when it was introduced, the routes it ran, and when it was retired.
One thing you will notice is just how many of the buses were built by Crossley Motors, just up the road in Gorton, recalling a time when Manchester engineering was renowned throughout the world.
Catch the coach
In addition to all the trams and buses you will come across several classic coaches from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Wonderfully evocative vehicles in their original company liveries - maybe the very charras that could have taken you, your parents or your grandparents on those exciting day trips.
To keep those memories flooding back, the museum even has the original booking office frontage from a local coach station, complete with posters and placards advertising their excursions.
So much more to see
You might not be too surprised to see the prototype Metrolink tram, but perhaps more surprisingly you will also see, among others, a vintage fire engine and a brewers dray. Wonderful vehicles that deserve to be enjoyed.
The museum is located within a genuine bus garage and features the original transport offices preserved like time capsules from the past, complete with their original decor and furniture. There are also lots and lots of smaller memory-joggers like old ticket machines, uniforms, timetables, photographs and even the tickets themselves.
Enjoy a cuppa in the tea room
The tea room at the museum is another time capsule that recreates the atmosphere and ambience of bus station buffets from a bygone age. With authentic chunky china cups, saucers and plates, plain tables and genuine SELNEC moquette seating, plus the 1950s decor and lots of memorabilia, you could almost believe you really had stepped back in time. The tea room is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a drink or snack as you ponder all the exhibits around you.
The museum shop
To complete your visit, the shop offers a wide selection of souvenirs: books and transport memorabilia, plus mementoes for the young and old alike. There are exquisitely detailed models on sale that are suitable for everyone from children to serious collectors.
For information about special events and themed weekends, including opportunities to ride on some of the historic buses, click here.
© Copyright GMTS 2011