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Manchester Metrolink News 2013

18 December 2013: January opening date set for Oldham town centre line
16 December 2013: New Queens Road Metrolink stop
6 December 2013: Trams to the Trafford Centre come a step closer
17 November 2013: Rochdale Interchange open
15 November 2013: New year, new Metrolink line for Oldham
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


18 December 2013: January opening date set for Oldham town centre line

TfGM have announced that, unless adverse wintry weather conditions affect progress, it is targeting Monday 27 January 2014 for the public launch.

There will be four new stops — Westwood, Oldham King Street, Oldham Central and Oldham Mumps, with the latter integrating tram and bus services and providing a new, free park and ride site for Metrolink passengers.

Connecting the new line to the network will require a weeklong closure between Central Park and Rochdale Railway Station, that is scheduled to start on Saturday 18 January. Replacement bus services details will be provided early in the new year.

This closure is essential; the temporary line has to be disconnected from the tracks to both Manchester and Rochdale before the brand new town centre line is connected. When both track and overhead power lines have been connected; final testing will begin, followed immediately by the start of passenger services.

The temporary route between Featherstall Road South via the tunnels to Oldham Way at Mumps will be decommissioned by the end of spring 2014. Platforms, platform equipment, ramps, overhead power lines, rails and sleepers will be removed; where appropriate these will be retained for use elsewhere on the network. The tunnels will be secured at each opening to prevent trespass.

16 December 2013: New Queens Road Metrolink stop

On Monday 16 December Queens Road Metrolink stop opened for passenger use. It has also replaced the former staff halt.

As well as providing a bright and modern facility for customers, the new stop also improves access to the Metrolink system for nearby residents travelling into Manchester and provides important new infrastructure to support continued housing growth in surrounding neighbourhoods.

The stop will also benefit customers travelling to cultural and leisure attractions that include the Irish World Heritage Centre and the Manchester Museum of Transport, as well as major retailers and restaurants situated at the Manchester Fort.

The Woodlands Road stop closed on the same date, after a Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) assessment concluded that it was one of the least used stops on the network and suffered from poor local access.

A public consultation was held on the closure of the stop by the Department for Transport (DfT) in December 2010. Following consideration of the responses and confirmation of planning permission for the Queens Road stop in February this year, the DfT agreed to a permanent closure.

6 December 2013: Trams to the Trafford Centre come a step closer

A report to the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee meeting on 6 December shows the 5.5km route, which will be used to assess the budget required and accompanying business case.

The route leaves the existing Metrolink network at the Pomona stop; runs alongside the Manchester Ship Canal before following Trafford Wharf Road and Warren Bruce Road and then runs through the Village area of Trafford Park.

It then crosses Parkway Circle and the Bridgewater Canal before terminating at the Trafford Centre.

While stop names are to be determined, they are planned to be close to key facilities, including Wharfside for Old Trafford, the Imperial War Museum North, Trafford Park Village, Parkway, EventCity and the Trafford Centre.

See the Trafford Line page for more details.

17 November 2013: Rochdale Interchange open

On Sunday 17 November Rochdale’s £11.5m transport interchange opened its doors to the public.

Located on the south side of Smith Street the new interchange provides enhanced facilities and improved safety and security for bus passengers. It will link directly with the new Metrolink extension, due to be completed by Spring 2014.

This is Europe’s first transport interchange with an integrated hydropower source. The water powered turbine was installed with part funding from the Ticket to Kyoto project, a major European environmental programme that aims to reduce CO2 emissions in public transport.

The development, which stands next to Rochdale Council’s award winning new office building and customer service centre, Number One Riverside, replaces the town’s old bus station which was built in 1978.

15 November 2013: New year, new Metrolink line for Oldham

Oldham’s new town centre Metrolink line is now on course to open early in the new year. This follows a change to the dates for the redevelopment of Network Rail’s Manchester Victoria station and tram stop.

The Oldham town centre line has four new stops — Westwood, Oldham King Street, Oldham Central and Oldham Mumps, with the latter integrating tram and bus services and providing a new, free park and ride site for Metrolink passengers.

Diverting the line will require a weeklong closure of the existing line between Central Park and Rochdale Railway Station — but will be followed immediately by the launch of the town centre line into passenger service.

More details on the timing of the closure, the accompanying replacement bus services and the actual launch date for the town centre line, will be provided closer to the time.

9 October 2013: Ashton Metrolink line open

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.

7 October 2013:Tram tests on Oldham town centre Metrolink line

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.

7 October 2013: TWA Powers for second city crossing

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.

23 May 2013: East Didsbury Metrolink line opens to passengers

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).

18 May 2013: Mosley Street stop closed

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.

9 May 2013: Real–time tram information in the city centre

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.

7 May 2013: Metrolink control room moves to Old Trafford

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.”

28 February 2013: Rochdale Metrolink open

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.

12 February 2013: Droylsden Metrolink line open

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.

11 February 2013: Route training on Oldham-Rochdale line

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.

29 January 2013: TfGM appoints new Metrolink Director

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 manwebm@lrta.org if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.