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Metrolink Introduction > Ashton Line: page updated 9 October 2013
The mostly ground level line to Ashton leaves Piccadilly Undercroft station via the former reversing sidings which have become passenger lines. It then crosses Sheffield Street near its junction with Baird Street. There is a reversing siding between inbound and outbound lines.
A short length of Portugal Street East, near its former junction with Baird Street, was closed to road traffic; a track level pedestrian crossing has been provided. The adjoining building was modified as part of the advance works, allowing the route and two footpaths to continue towards north–western side of Longacre Street.
An underpass, constructed using the ‘cut and cover’ method, takes the line beneath the Inner Relief Road. More details and pictures on the Great Ancoats Street page.
New Islington stop is on the Piccadilly side of Munday Street. There are two ramps, from near the centre towards the ends for both platforms; also steps from the end of each platform to track level pedestrian crossings at both ends of the stop. There are footpaths to both Pollard and Munday Streets. After crossing Munday Street, the route is in a reserved way alongside a new development towards the Pollard/Carruthers/Merrill Streets junction. On Merrill Street there is shared running with road traffic for 250 metres (270 yards). Beswick Street has been re–routed to the west of the Mitchell Arms replacing Frost Street.
Holt Town stop is off–street between the road called Holt Town and the River Medlock. Heavy duty concrete piling rigs were used to create concrete retaining walls for the stop. There are two side platforms with steps and track level pedestrian crossings at both ends. An outbound platform ramp and inbound footpath have been provided at the city centre end, surrounding ground levels vary at this stop.
The eastern part of Holt Town (road) has been closed to traffic except for Environment Agency access. This is alongside the higher level park and used by the route, which then goes through a bridge under Cambrian Street. Holt Town stop is connected to the City Link footpath, part of the pedestrian route from the City Centre for the 2002 Commonwealth Games; this path goes through a separate arch.
Substantial advance works include a bridge across the River Medlock east of Cambrian Street also bridges under New Viaduct Street and the Ardwick Branch railway line. They are wide enough to accommodate Metrolink and the footpath, which remains in use.
Etihad Campus stop has staggered side platforms on each side of Joe Mercer Way, the pedestrian bridge over the line and canal. A new footpath runs from the City Link path, alongside the inbound line to the lift lower level and inbound platform. At the Manchester/west end of the outbound platform, steps and a ramp lead to a track level pedestrian crossing to the new path. A double width ramp at the east end of the outbound platform leads to another track level pedestrian crossing towards the lift and outbound steps. The lift is to the west of Joe Mercer Way. The inbound platform is east of Joe Mercer Way. On both sides crowd control and regular use areas lead to separate steps.
A short tunnel beneath the Intermediate Ring Road, Alan Turing Way and Gibbon Street was completed in March 2003. The line rises and runs alongside Alan Turing Way. There is a long trailing crossover/siding, able to hold two double trams, between outbound and inbound lines. Passing across the wide footpath to the Asda superstore, on a level crossing, the line turns to the left to run between the store and the north side of Ashton New Road. Velopark stop is on this side of the superstore. The outbound platform has ramps at both ends to track level pedestrian crossings; the inbound platform has steps at both ends and two ramps from near the middle.
Passing over a signal controlled crossing of a car park entrance/service road the line reaches a new bridge over the Ashton Canal where it turns and crosses Ashton New Road, turning again to run parallel with Ashton New Road.
The route crosses Clayton Lane which remains open to foot and vehicular traffic. Clayton Hall stop is east of Clayton Lane and south of Ashton New Road; on a diagonal alignment. It hase two side platforms with steps at both ends. The ground level between Ashton New Road and the outbound platform has been arranged to give step free access. Two ramps have been provided for the inbound platform. A short portion of Eccleshall Street, alongside the stop has been pedestrianised. A track level pedestrian crossing along with a cycle crossing are to the east of the stop.
From Piccadilly to Clayton Hall stop, apart from Merrill Street, the route is tram only. Then just east of Clayton Hall stop, the main 3.3 kilometre (2 mile) street running section starts. Trams share with other traffic along the A662 which has several names between Clayton and Audenshaw.
Tram stops are out of the flow of traffic. Various traffic measures including traffic signals, bus stops not in the flow of trams or traffic, sheltered parking bays for houses along the route, right turn bans and partial road closures are used to speed both trams and other traffic.
Edge Lane stop is east of Edge Lane. On Manchester Road, eastbound road lanes have been moved creating a short central reservation. This has an island platform with approach ramps and both tracks. A taxi rank, disabled parking bays, a kiss and ride area and cycle storage are provided in the space between Manor Road, Cooper Street and the new eastbound carriageway of Manchester Road.
Cemetery Road stop is on the south side of Manchester Road between the Jolly Carter and Clegg Street. Martins Way a new access road for Kershaw Street has been built to the west of the Jolly Carter. Short sections of John and Sidebottom Streets have been closed and removed. Track level pedestrian crossing have been provided at both ends of the stop. Both side platforms have steps at the west end and ramps at the east end, with an additional ramp at the west end of the inbound platform. A shared pedestrian/cycle path has been provided to the south of the inbound platform.
Construction work near Droylsden Library, took place during May and June 2009, with piling for & building concrete retaining walls to help widen Manchester Road. A new footbridge, with ducts for utility diversions, was lifted into place on Sunday 28 June 2009. It is now in use.
Following alterations to the adjoining property, the former bank building, at the corner of Market Street and Ashton Road Droylsden, was demolished by August 2006. St. Mary’s new school building was completed in October 2003. Droylsden stop is east of Market Street, eastbound road lanes have been moved creating a short central reservation. It has an island platform with slightly staggered faces. There is a ramp down to road/track level at the western end and steps at the eastern end.
A facing connection allows trams from the outbound platform to move forward and onto the inbound line to reverse and return towards Manchester. This was used from 8 February when the Droylsden line had a soft opening, with 3 days of free travel for local residents, regular services started on 11 February 2013. Trams are every 12 minutes to and from Bury via the city centre.
Between Droylsden and Audenshaw the outbound track shares road space with other traffic, the inbound track is tram only.
Audenshaw stop is off–street east of Lumb Lane and south of Droylsden Road in the gyratory road layout. It has an island platform with ramps down to track level pedestrian crossings at both ends.
After the Audenshaw stop the route is off–street on a reserved alignment along the north side of Manchester Road. A number of houses were cleared and a noise barrier built to protect the houses on Windsor Drive. The route crosses Gainsborough Road and passes behind the Snipe Inn. It then runs, in a reserved way, just north of Lord Sheldon Way — the Ashton Northern Bypass — for about 600 metres (660 yards)
Ashton Moss stop is at the eastern end of this section, just before Alexandria Drive. It has an island platform with ramps down to track level pedestrian crossings at both ends. At this road junction the route crosses over to run in the central reservation towards Ashton town centre. It also has a 200 spaces secure park and ride site.
Ashton West stop has two side platforms and is in the central reservation of the bypass, just west of the Richmond Street junction. It has ramps from both platforms to a track level pedestrian crossing at the western end of the stop; also from near the platform midpoints there will be ramps towards the eastern end, together with steps, and an eastern track level pedestrian crossing. Less than 1 kilometre north of the A635, it will share 194 park and ride spaces spaces with users of the Ashton Moss Leisure Park which are free to use for Metrolink passengers.
After crossing Richmond Street, the route remains in the central reservation for about 270 metres. Just east of a pedestrian crosing which is near Portland Street North; the route crosses to a new reserved way on what were the westbound road lanes. These lanes have been moved onto part of the central reservation. Tracks thus by–pass the roundabout alongside IKEA.
The Wellington Road / Cavendish Street road junction has been altered slightly, with the tracks crossing the end of Cavendish Street to run on a reserved way along the south side of Wellington Road. Facing and trailing connections just west of Oldham Road will enable trams to arrive at / depart from both platforms of Ashton stop, which is just east of Oldham Road and a short distance from the bus station. This has an island platform with ramps at both ends to ground/track level.
Eventually on weekdays there will be a six minute interval service, in both directions, between Manchester Piccadilly and Ashton. During early mornings and in the evenings, this will reduce to a tram every twelve minutes. At weekends, the six minute service will run for a shorter period each day; on Sundays the off peak service will offer one tram every fifteen minutes.
Ashton Line: top of page
This page was written and illustrated by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.