They were putting on steam train rides at the Museum of Science and Industry the other day, so we went along and had a go, along with a look around just a part of what is a brilliant and huge (and free) museum. The engine was green, so my Thomas The Tank Engine-obsessed daughter thought we were on the real Percy (regular viewers will know he is the green engine, who always brings the mail on time).
The ride begins on the old goods yard tracks in the middle of what is now the museum, takes in the historic Liverpool Road Station platform, and up to this junction. From here, you can see the current railway line as it crosses from Manchester into Salford. Our train then backed down another bit of track, before coming back here and returning to our starting point.
The bit of track we travelled on was part of the world's first timetabled passenger railway, which started running between Manchester's Liverpool Road and Liverpool in 1830. The new bits you can see in the photo were built not long after, to take trains into bigger stations at Manchester Victoria and later Piccadilly (you can get a better sense of this by looking at satellite view). So from 1844 until 1975 this piece of track at Liverpool Road was used only for freight. I think it's good that this little bit of history survives with occasional train services on it, as part of the museum.