After a year of disruption Manchester Metrolink services through Victoria have finally resumed, although initially not quite the full service which had been expected. It had originally been thought that Saturday 21st February would see a full Bury-Ashton under Lyne service return but in the end the Abraham Moss shuttle continued to run during the morning before this was extended to Piccadilly for “testing purposes”.
The start of service on Saturday 21st February did see the resumption of the through Bury to Altrincham service and the East Didsbury to Rochdale Town Centre service was also running throughout with these trams calling at one of the two new island platforms at Victoria (the second continues to be constructed and is not expected to open until the Second City Crossing is completed). Initially the Abraham Moss shuttle was not running at all but this soon started operation and from around lunchtime trams on this circuit started to be extended through to Piccadilly offering a through service from Bury to Piccadilly for the first time in a year.
A full six minute service from Bury into Manchester City Centre will resume on Monday 23rd February. This will see the normal 12 minute frequency from Bury to Altrincham with alternate trams running to Piccadilly. Despite the expectation that the pre-Victoria closure service would resume at this stage it has now been confirmed that trams from Bury will terminate at Piccadilly and not run through to Ashton-under-Lyne. This means that the Eccles service will continue to run to Ashton. It is not known whether this will be the permanent service pattern, well as permanent as the summer when it is all change again following the closure of St Peter’s Square.
With services resuming through Victoria the stops at Shudehill and Market Street have reopened to passengers with the first stage of the refurbishment works at the latter now completed. This does now mean that there is no shelter at Market Street at least until the spring when a new longer structure will be installed. Just as well it isn’t still winter and that Manchester doesn’t have a reputation for being a bit wet at times…