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Manchester to Bury

This is the northern part of Metrolink phase one. The City Centre page describes Victoria, Piccadilly, Deansgate–Castlefield and the lines between them.

Victoria to Bury is 15.9km. The line was originally electrified by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1916, using the unique 1200V dc side contact conductor rail system. This was partly in response to the growing municipal tramway network. By 1980 the line was a self-contained one running from Victoria to Bury Interchange. The Interchange was built for the ‘Pic–Vic’ Scheme, and now provides good connections between trams and buses at Bury.

Victoria station roof and Metrolink stop upgrade

Network Rail have built a new roof for this part of the station. The Metrolink stop has been rebuilt. There are two double sided platforms with three tracks, this new layout allowing future turnback arrangements for the full Metrolink phase 3b including Second City Centre Crossing.

To do this work safely, it was necessary to suspend services calling at the stop. There were through non–stop services, using a single line. See the Victoria station roof and Metrolink stop upgrade page for more details. Victoria stop re–opened on 21 February 2015. Trams are using the outer faces of both island platforms.

Bury line diagram (20.1KB)

Leaving Victoria the line passes under Cheetham Hill Road bridge and joins the former Bury Electric Line Route. It initially rises with the Rochdale main line before falling to reach Collyhurst Tunnel, which curves to pass under the main line, and rises again. At Irk Valley Junction the Rochdale via Oldham line diverges to the right while the Bury line crosses the former loop line route then falls towards the depot connections.

Metrolink’s Queens Road Depot is on the left side of the line, the depot connections face Bury. A connection from the Depot towards Monsall on the Oldham and Rochdale line is now in use.

Queens Road stop, which replaced the staff halt, has steps and a lift from the road to both inbound and outbound platforms. At the Manchester (south) end there are ramps to a foot track level crossing. A locked gate allows staff access to the depot. A ramp and steps from the inbound platform to Smeaton Street allows access to 5 cycle hoops and lockers also 2 disabled parking bays. This is the nearest stop to the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport at Boyle Street.

Abraham Moss stop, near the existing City College and popular facilities like the library and leisure centre is now open. It has staggered platforms with a foot track level crossing replacing the former underpass. A short length of the foot path from Woodlands Road to Abraham Moss Centre has been raised slightly. Steps and a DDA compliant ramp connect path and track level on the outbound side, the inbound side being at existing road level. Also steps and ramps connect track level with the platforms.

Crumpsall is the stop for North Manchester General Hospital. A Bury bound platform ramped path and Manchester bound platform lift were provided on conversion to Metrolink. In 2001 the former booking office building was removed. Both stairways were opened up and a new open footbridge provided in 2003. A new ramp between footbridge and Manchester bound platform opened in 2004. The lift, which was unreliable and out of use for long periods, has been removed. A new Disability Discrimination Act compliant access ramp from Station Road to the Bury bound platform and a new off road car park opened in 2005. A new power operated emergency crossover, with illuminated indicators, was installed in 2007.

Bowker Vale is next and has steps and a ramped path for each platform. In 2012 new waiting shelters have been provided on the platforms and former buildings and canopies demolished. It is the nearer stop to the Manchester Tramway Museum’s present depot at the Heaton Park Tramway.

Metrolink continues through the covered way under Heaton Park to Heaton Park stop which has a lift for each platform. The former booking office building was removed in 2001 and the car park was enlarged. In 2011/2 the footbridge and stairway roofs were removed and the stairs rebuilt.

Next is Prestwich which had access ramps provided on conversion to Metrolink. The approach was opened up in 2001 by removing redundant buildings at the entrance. Additional CCTV equipment was installed. The car park has been improved, including better facilities for the disabled.

Just before Besses o’ th’ Barn the route crosses the unique inverted ‘T’ concrete beam bridge over the Bury Old Road and M60 motorway. This bridge is the absolute summit of phase 1 line. The stop has a lift and stairway from the island platform to the subway. In 2005 a new Disability Discrimination Act compliant access ramp and new parking spaces for disabled drivers were provided on the Bury Old Road side of the stop. These designated blue badge holder parking spaces were hardly used, the layout has been changed to 2 blue badge plus 5 regular parking spaces. There is also an existing footpath to Thatch Leach Lane on the opposite side of the stop. In 2012 existing platform buildings and roof were removed, new waiting shelters and stop furniture installed, improving visibility between the platforms and entrances.

Whitefield is next, a new park and ride opened in June 2006. There is a new approach road and footpath alongside the Manchester bound platform. A new bus turning area with two high specification passenger waiting shelters are provided at platform level. Beyond this there are 216 (expanded from 127 in May 2014) car parking spaces including eight for disabled users, plus eight motorcycle stands, three cycle stands and five cycle lockers. High quality lighting and a CCTV system are provided for passenger safety and security. The line continues through a long cutting to the viaduct over the Irwell valley at Radcliffe.

Radcliffe has ramped access to the platforms as well as the old steps and subway. Space for a large car park, since expanded from 250 to 369 spaces, and bus stops was obtained by demolishing redundant station buildings and providing a retaining wall for the outbound or Bury platform. This allowed embankment including that for the long disused Bolton line platforms to be removed. Just north of Radcliffe the Bury electric line joined the original East Lancashire Railway.

The line continues over Metrolink’s only barrier controlled crossing at Hagside. On the new lines, as at Shaw and Crompton, there are tram and traffic signals without barriers. Navigation Road and Deansgate Lane Crossings, which have barriers and an adjacent railway line, are controlled by Network Rail.

Metrolink’s route joins part of the Bury Loop or Connecting Line, at the former Loco Junction, for most of the last 1.2 kilometre to Bury Interchange. The connection between Metrolink and the East Lancashire Railway was reinstated; this enabled access for materials and equipment, from Network Rail over the ELR, for the track renewal works.

Bury Interchange was designed as one of the northern terminals for the ‘Pic–Vic’ main line tunnel and electrification scheme. The platform has two faces and is at the lower level. Steps, an escalator (refurbished 2006) and a lift link platform with a small concourse and the bus station. From both there is a pedestrian route to the adjacent town centre shops.


Bury Line: top of page

This page was written and illustrated by Tony Williams. Contact manwebm@lrta.org if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.