It’s been labelled an “oasis in the city” –the popular Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink stop is going green with the help of local schoolchildren.
Pupils from St Wilfrid’s RC Primary School in nearby Hulme joined Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, to plant shrubs at the new look stop, which has undergone a major transformation.
As part of the Metrolink expansion programme the stop now has two new green slate paved platforms, a brand new line of track – making three lines through the stop – and much improved access and passenger facilities.
As part of a unique green theme designed by architects Simpson Haugh and Partners, two huge new passenger shelters cast shadows of leaves on to the platforms, which are surrounded by extensive landscaping.
Work to build a new ‘living’ wall with plants and flowers at the Deansgate end of the stop is well advanced, while trams passing through the stop appear to move along a bed of grass thanks to blocks of sedum planted between tracks – which are already teeming with wildflowers.
The seven and eight-year old Year 2 pupils from St Wilfrid’s enjoyed the chance to wear their own hi-vis vests and hard hats as they got their hands dirty putting the finishing touches to a shrubbery near the island-style platform.
Councillor Fender said: “The new-look Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink stop really has taken shape over the last few months and it’s great to have local schoolchildren here to learn more about Metrolink and help us put the finishing touches to the landscaping.
“The stop is looking fantastic – not just the new platforms but the modernised Exhibition Bridge to the train station, which you’d hardly recognise from the ageing tunnel bridge it has replaced.
“The stop really does have a unique green look and I’m sure the thousands of people using it every day will appreciate the many small touches that make it an oasis in the city.”
Gemma Hickey, teacher at St Wilfrid’s RC Primary School, said: “Our children really enjoyed the opportunity to take part in the gardening project and were so proud of themselves.
“Being a local school, it enabled them to contribute to our local community and they will be able to appreciate their efforts every time they visit the Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink stop.”
This week will see overnight work taking place at the Deansgate end of the stop as a crane on Whitworth Street West lifts a new set of stairs into place, and work continues on installing a new passenger lift.
To complete the works on the new stop, a brand new set of steps at the First Street end of the stop is due to open in coming weeks, with the old stairs being removed.