A large area around Victoria station and Manchester Arena remained cordoned off as commuters made their way into the city centre this morning. Shops in New Cathedral Street and Exchange Square including Marks & Spencer and Selfridges were among those closed.
The closed area also took in the Corn Exchange, National Football Museum, Printworks, and Chetham’s School of Music, which advised teachers and pupils not to travel in. On the other side of Victoria station heading out of the city centre the cordon extended to Cheetham Hill Road.
Transport for Greater Manchester said “all modes of transport have been impacted this morning” following the incident that killed 22 people – children among them – at Manchester Arena last night. The following is a travel round-up of the affected modes as of this morning:
Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that Victoria Station will be closed for at least 24 hours, which means that services on the Bury and Rochdale via Oldham lines are operating a reduced route until further notice.
Services on the Bury line will stop at Queens Road while those on the Rochdale via Oldham line will finish at Monsall. There is ticket acceptance by bus operators Stagecoach and First on bus services on the Bury, Rochdale Metrolink lines.
Ten buses are scheduled to operate from Central Park as Metrolink replacement services and seven buses scheduled to operate from Queens Road to Piccadilly Gardens.
Services that operate south of the city centre are also affected, with the Airport line running to Deansgate, the Eccles service running all day via MediaCityUK to Ashton, Altrincham running to the Etihad Campus or Piccadilly and East Didsbury service redirected to Piccadilly.
No bus services are operating out of Shudehill. All services are terminating short of the Interchange. Mega bus services diverted to Stevenson Square. Metroshuttle services – service 1 operating but with diversions, service 2 not operating, service 3 normal route.
All school bus services are running as normal. A full list of affected services is available on the TfGM website.
Manchester Victoria is closed to all rail traffic; as such rail services will not be calling at Victoria. Piccadilly station remains open as usual. All rail passengers are advised to check National Rail Enquiries before travelling.
Roads are expected to be busier than usual. There is limited access to the city centre from the north of Manchester with good access from the south of Manchester. There is limited access on Manchester Inner Ring Road from the north – including Trinity Way and closures will restrict access for the next 24 hours with no access to Shudehill, Victoria Station and the immediate area around the Manchester Arena.
Non-signposted diversions will be in place as a result of the incident meaning congestion and delays are likely. TfGM will be adjusting signal timings where possible to reduce congestion.
In addition there is also a fire on Ashton Old Road at the junction of Fairfield Road and Ogden Lane which is likely to cause ongoing delays.
Drivers are encouraged to consider other means of travelling into Manchester City centre, including the Park & Ride facilities at Sale, Ashton West, and Ashton Moss Metrolink stops.
Mayor Andy Burnham spoke alongside Sir Richard Leese, who withdrew from a speaking engagement with the Forum of the Built Environment to help join the city’s response to the incident. Burnham said: “After our darkest of nights, Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns…Today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city.”
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is an absolutely horrifying incident and our thoughts are with everyone affected, especially those who have lost loved ones or been injured and traumatised.
“If it is confirmed this was a terrorist attack it is a monstrous act but also a deeply futile one. Manchester is proud and strong city and we will not allow those who seek to sow fear and division to achieve their aims.
“We give heartfelt thanks to our emergency services for their response and council staff are doing all they can to support.”
The city centre was quiet this morning as people walked past armed police officers at train stations and public areas including Piccadilly Gardens on their way to work.
Chris Oglesby, chief executive of Bruntwood, owner of more than 50 properties in the city centre, said: “Our thoughts are with all of those families affected by this terrible incident. Attacks like these are aimed at creating fear and breaking down our social fabric by dividing our communities. It is therefore important that, instead of playing into the terrorist’s hands, we pull together even more. Manchester has faced, and dealt with, terrorist threat and attacks in the past and it will deal with this one. It does so by civic, community and business groups pulling together and I am sure that we will emerge, once again, stronger as a city out of this adversity. Already we have seen the wonderful people of this city mobilising and there is nothing that stiffens my resolve more for our mission to make our great city regions greater than when things like this happen that threaten to undermine it.”
There will be a vigil at 6pm in Albert Square to show solidarity and support for all those affected by last’s night attack at Manchester Arena.