I was gonna do the Beverly Farms/Prides Crossing combo during the morning rush one day in the summer, but nope – the conductor decided to just skip Beverly Farms, which is a flag stop, without asking anyone if they were getting off there. I ended up at Manchester instead with only a few minutes to do the fastest, worst review I’ve ever made of a station – I had to use a lot of Google Maps to help me with this one.
|Hurry up hurry up hurry up!|
Oh great, it’s another station with degenerate mini-highs. They have nothing on them, and that’s all I have to say. They’re not falling apart, which I guess is a plus. This station apparently has 71 parking spaces – I think they might be in that decrepit-looking lot to the left in the picture above, but I could be wrong. Either way, it’s free parking, so I guess the quality of the lot can be excused to some degree. There’s also a bike rack on either platform.
|Looking down the foggy platform.|
Manchester actually has shelters on both of its platforms, which is great. In fact, the outbound side gets a larger one than the inbound side! It’s wooden, and it’s not in the best shape at this point, and it probably doesn’t have to be there, but I guess it’s nice. The inbound platform, meanwhile, gets a lot of unsheltered benches and a single glorified bus shelter with nothing under it. Aw…
|Wait, uhhhh, EXCUSE ME?|
Now, despite Manchester being between two level crossings, they do not go down when the train is stopped. Why’s that? Because the train has to stop for them whenever it leaves the station. That’s right, there are actually stop signs for each level crossing, and the train has to sit there and wait for them to go down. This just baffles me – is there seriously no way the level crossing can lower as the train is leaving so it doesn’t have to stop?
|Get outta here!|
Ridership: Normal ridership at Manchester is average for the Rockport Line, with 307 inbound riders per weekday. However, in the summer, that number spikes up a lot with people going to the beach.
Pros: It’s accessible, it has free parking, and it’s in a very good location as we’ll soon see. That’s about all that’s good about it, though.
Cons: I really must complain about the shelter situation. So the outbound side gets the big wooden shelter with benches under it, while all the inbound side gets is a little hut with nothing under it? Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Did I mention the station gets packed in the summer? Also, it goes without saying, but the mini-highs are barebones and negatively affect the waiting experience for passengers. Finally, the level crossing situation is awful, and I would be very surprised if modern gates don’t have the ability to allow trains to go through without stopping. Perhaps a renovation is needed.
Nearby and Noteworthy: The station is located right in downtown Manchester, which in itself looks like a lovely place, but that’s not why it’s in a good location. No, Manchester’s true ace in the hole is that it’s about a ten-minute walk from Singing Beach. That is a huge draw for it in the warmer months!
Final Verdict: 5/10
Okay, okay, the station is really a 4, but I’ll throw in an extra point because it’s so close to the beach. Seriously, though, this is not the kind of place summer passengers should be forced to wait at, let alone commuter passengers! At least put a bench under the tiny inbound shelter! Or heck, how about renovating the mini-highs and giving them shelter and a bench? Geez Louise, and the level crossings…don’t get me started.
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