> Picc-Vic: Proposed Route 📍
Picc-Vic was a proposed underground rail link between Piccadilly Station and Victoria Station. It reached the proposal stages and a route was surveyed, but the scheme was cut in 1977 to save money.
In 2012 an exhibition titled Infra_MANC was shown at Cube Gallery on Portland Street, which featured the Picc-Vic proposal heavily in its context as a transportation innovation of post war planning in Manchester. With five planned stations across the city, detailed network plans and glamourous pictures, it is intriguing to wonder how it would have impacted movement through urban Manchester. In fact this Picc-Vic was merely one of six iterations of proposals designed to tackle the problem of Manchester’s disjointed rail hubs… a very real problem which was finally tackled in 1991 by the reintroductions of trams in the form of the Metrolink, while the Ordsall Chord promises improvements to cross country trains’ negotiation of Piccadilly and Victoria, should it ever get beyond sensible legal challenges.
The stations planned were:
Princess Street (or Whitworth) would have been built on the site of the present Whitworth House, with a direct link to the proposed major development north and east of the station, as well as serving the Manchester College site (formerly City College Manchester), UMIST, as well as other developments.
Albert Square/St. Peter's Square (or Central), serving the administrative and entertainment parts of the city, would have six entrances in St Peter's Square, together with a bus lay-by, part of a re-designed square. Albert Square would also be redesigned, with a concourse beneath the square, along with a direct link into the Heron House development and a travelator link to Oxford Road railway station.
Market Street (or Royal Exchange) would have lain beneath the junction of Corporation Street, Cross Street, and Market Street, directly linking into the Royal Exchange, Marks & Spencer, as well as the Arndale Centre.
Victoria Low Level would have a concourse below Long Millgate, serving the Co-Operative HQ and the Corn Exchange. Development of the Picc-Vic would also allow the main line station to be rationalised and redeveloped, along with a proposed new bus station.
It is believed that work actually started on at least one of the planned stations, where a void (the Arndale Void) was apparently designed into the Arndale Centre near Topshop during the centre’s construction around that period.
See the proposed route in this article about Martin Dodge’s work on Infra_MANC Contemporary Cities and Infrastructural Imaginaries, and see the other proposals and plans (along with some wacky ideas about urban heliports) in the Infra_MANC catalogue.