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9 October 2013: Ashton Metrolink line open
7 October 2013:Tram tests on Oldham town centre Metrolink line
7 October 2013: TWA Powers for second city crossing
23 May 2013: East Didsbury Metrolink line opens to passengers
18 May 2013: Mosley Street stop closed
9 May 2013: Real–time tram information in the city centre
7 May 2013: Metrolink control room moves to Old Trafford
28 February 2013: Rochdale Metrolink open
12 February 2013: Droylsden Metrolink line open
11 February 2013: Route training on Oldham-Rochdale line
29 January 2013: TfGM appoints new Metrolink Director
Metrolink services to Ashton started on 9 October 2013, several months ahead of schedule. They are an extension from Droylsden, with new stops at Audenshaw, Ashton Moss, Ashton West and Ashton–under–Lyne.
Passengers took the first tram from Ashton–under–Lyne stop at 05:59 hrs. Journeys from A–u–L to the city take half an hour.
Park and ride facilities at Ashton Moss (200 spaces) and Ashton West (194 spaces, shared with users of the Ashton Moss Leisure Park) are open and free to use for Metrolink passengers.
The first overnight tram tests are set to take place on the new Oldham town centre Metrolink extension, between Westwood Business Park and Oldham Mumps.
From Monday 7 October trams will run on the line overnight under a police escort. Some road junctions will be restricted for very short periods of time and noise will be kept to a minimum. Daytime tram tests will follow, but during the testing period the tram service is not open to the public.
Passenger services will open on the Oldham town centre extension next year with four new stops at Westwood, Oldham King Street, Oldham Central and Oldham Mumps which will also have a major new Metrolink park and ride.
Powers to install a second Metrolink route through the heart of Manchester city centre have been approved by the Government.
The route — through St Peter’s Square, along Princess Street, Cross Street and Corporation Street and re-joining the existing Metrolink line just outside Victoria station — was the subject of a major consultation in 2011 and a public inquiry earlier this year.
There will be a new, larger tram stop in St Peter’s Square and a new stop in Exchange Square, one of the city’s main retail and leisure areas.
The new Metrolink line to East Didsbury opened to passengers on 23 May — several months ahead of schedule.
Passengers took the first tram from the East Didsbury stop at 05.49 hrs. Journeys from East Didsbury to the city take less than half an hour.
The 4.4km (2.7 miles) extension to the existing South Manchester line has five new stops, with services calling at Withington, Burton Road, West Didsbury, Didsbury Village and East Didsbury.
A 300–space park and ride facility — free to use for Metrolink passengers — is available at the East Didsbury stop.
Services now run every 12 minutes all day Monday to Saturday and between 9am and 6pm on Sundays and bank holidays (15 minutes at all other times).
Mosley Street stop closed from the start of services on Saturday 18 May. This long–planned move will improve journey times, reliability and capacity on the network.
This outbound only stop was the last split–level platform on the network. Any single tram could stop there but only double T68 trams, with retractable steps, were able to use this stop. A single tram can carry more than 200 passengers. Running two trams together, as a ‘double tram’, provides capacity for more than 400 passengers.
Although the stop design was acceptable when constructed in 1991, upgrading to modern requirements would encroach on pedestrian access to local businesses.
Interaction with the urban traffic control system, both on entry to and exit from the stop, resulted in extra delays when trams were running close together.
Real-time service information is now available at city centre stops. New displays (PIDs) have been installed at the Shudehill, Market Street, Piccadilly Gardens, Piccadilly station, St Peter’s Square and Deansgate-Castlefield stops following the roll-out of a new tram management system through the city centre.
The display shows destination and minutes to arrival of the next plus following two trams. The third line can show additional passenger information, such as during special events or disruption to services.
A new Passenger Information Display at the corner of Parker Street and Mosley Street shows the next Altrincham trams, from both Piccadilly Gardens and Market Street stops. This information is also repeated on both Market Street and Piccadilly Gardens stop PIDs, alternating with the usual departure information for that stop.
A major project has relocated Metrolink’s control room — Network Management Centre — from Queens Road depot in Cheetham Hill to a brand new, 21st century facility at Trafford depot.
This move is an integral part of the ongoing network expansion. Operational benefits include greater visibility of the system, both in terms of where trams are and CCTV at stops. There are also direct passenger benefits thanks to the integration of a customer services representative within the control room and new ‘back office’ facilities.
Chris Coleman, managing director of RATP Dev UK, which operates Metrolink, said: “The switchover to the new control room was a huge undertaking but proved to be a successful project delivered in partnership between us, contractors MPT and Thales and Transport for Greater Manchester. In the lead up to the move, rigorous testing of the system was carried out by staff between the end of service and the first tram the next day which ensured a seamless move over to the new centre of operations.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “This was no mean feat and the fact that the teams involved have been able to effectively move the entire nerve centre of the network from north Manchester to Trafford without having any impact on services is testament to the efforts of everyone involved. It’s a major step forward and crucial for managing a network that, in coming years, will be three times the size of the original. My congratulations go to the officers at TfGM and MRDL for delivering such a seamless transition.”
Metrolink services to Rochdale started on 28 February 2013. They are an extension from Shaw and Compton, with new stops at Newhey and Milnrow, formerly railway stations, plus Kingsway and Newbold. This 7.4km (4.6-mile) extension runs to Rochdale Railway Station.
A new more than 200 space car park is available for park–and–ride passengers on Metrolink and heavy rail services from Rochdale.
Services run every 12 minutes via Oldham to Manchester city centre then on to St. Werburgh’s Road in Chorlton.
On Friday 8 February there was a soft opening with 3 days of free travel for local residents. TfGM sent almost 20,000 ‘Free Preview’ passes to homes in the catchment areas. They were put to good use, with reports of standing room only on some trams over the weekend. This was a gesture of thanks to the community for its patience during the construction of the street–running sections of the new line.
The line opened to the general public on Monday 11 February with regular advertised services. Trams are every 12 minutes to and from Bury via the city centre.
Test trams have started running between Shaw and Crompton and Rochdale railway station as part of Metrolink’s driver route training programme.
The trams will not be carrying passengers during this period.
The Oldham line will be extended to Rochdale in the near future with the opening of five new Metrolink stops — Newhey, Milnrow, Kingsway, Newbold and Rochdale Railway Station.
TfGM have appointed Peter Cushing as Metrolink Director. He will formally take up this role from 4 February, ahead of Philip Purdy returning to Australia for family reasons. In recent years, Peter has worked with TfGM’s Metrolink team on a long-term but interim basis, overseeing existing day-to-day operations during the current £1.4 billion expansion programme.
Peter brings a wealth of expertise and experience in the rail industry to the role, not least in rejuvenating Central Trains as Operations Director between March 2003 and January 2005. He was part of the team involved in the DfT’s remapping of the heavy rail network that saw the creation of the East Midlands Trains, London Midland and Cross Country franchises, and has also worked on several rail franchise bids, winning three.
News 2013: top of page
This page was written by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association. Contact email@example.com if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.