Metrolink services resume through Victoria

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…

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10 Responses to Metrolink services resume through Victoria

  1. tram man says:

    There was a slight hic-up on Thursday night when 3060 suffered damage to its fender,when it struck a metal railing during a gauging run through Victoria.
    There still must be still some issues with the track alignment as there is a five miles an hour speed restriction in place.No doubt somebody will correct me on this.
    Call me old fashioned,but running a few trams through Victoria on Thursday night after service is not my idea of rigorous testing.

  2. Ken Walker says:

    Why is there such a horrendous noise when trams pass over the pointwork in the city? I’ve noticed it at the delta junction at Piccadilly gardens and now its the same when they pass over the new pointwork coming into Victoria. It sounds like they’re running over an elephant! It’s not too bad at Piccadilly but in an enclosed space at Victoria I could imagine anyone working on the concourse would find it extremely irritating every few minutes. It doesn’t seem to happen anywhere else on the system.

    • Steve Hyde says:

      Whilst I have no knowledge about what a tram running over an elephant sounds like, I would suggest that the problem is a lack of lubrication. Anecdotely there seems to be a problem at the wheel rail interface with a number of the recently introduced tram fleets in the UK. The M5000 has been the subject of a number of studies in this area resulting in revised tyre profiles and experiments with flange lubrication.

  3. NotchArrestor273 says:

    Or is it that the current generation of PW operatives don’t understand how to gauge tramway track around curves and special work. There was yet another large group of people with various types of measuring equipment clustered around the turnouts into Piccadilly Gardens just after the Market Street stop, there seems to be excessive wear here & replacement is going to be required far sooner than was planned following the last major track work in the city centre. Encasing high wear locations in mass concrete doesn’t seem to be the smart option if you want to carry out overnight maintenance (oops working in the dark is probably too dangerous)!

    If noise turns out to be the only problem with the layout at Victoria then hooray, Cornbrook’s problems don’t inspire much confidence.

    On another note I was amused to see a NR gang working on the mainline electrification as my 21st century Pacer wheezed into Victoria, one orange clad figure was shovelling some ballast, nine others were watching him do it, is it any surprise that NR struggle to deliver infrastucture work on time, on budget and fit for purpose.

  4. tram man says:

    It reminds me of the old joke of a woman phoning in and complaining that everytime she travels to work on the train and passes a p-way gang ,they are all stood at the side of the track doing nothing.
    Before I get banged to rights by somebody about P.T.S ,worksites and possession’s,its only a joke.
    Regarding the squealing noise,even before they started on Victoria the trams used to squeal round the bend when entering and leaving Victoria.
    The flangelube on the M5000 differs slightly than the T68,in that all four applicators are fitted to the artic bogie rather than two on each of the motor bogies on the T68.

    • Ken Walker says:

      Yes tram man, a friend of mine made the same complaint to me, I pointed out that maybe the gang saved her from injury by waiting until her train had passed before they started on replacing that rail! Of course they may alternatively have been lifting and packing a dipped joint and been observing the rail as the train passed to make sure that the job was done ok.
      As you say the trams used to squeal on the old curve but that was a continuous sound whereas this seems to be as the bogies pass over acertain part of the pointwork. The same thing happens at the facing points at the end of the platform at Market Street. It sounds to the untrained ear as though something is going to wear out quite quickly!

  5. tram man says:

    Yes Ken I am glad someone got the joke.
    For those who are wondering what the hell I am going on about.The point of the joke is that when the P-Way are working on the line and a train or tram approaches,the lookout will sound his horn,then the gang will move to a place of safety normally in the cess.So if you are actually on the train or tram you will never see the P-Way working.

  6. Ken Walker says:

    Since the resumption of normal working I have noticed an apparent increase in the number of doubles on the Rochdale service, (there seems to be at least 6) and that the later 3062 onward trams seem to be appearing regularly. It seems that the tram doubles are always exclusively pairs of early M5000s or pairs of the later ones. Are the ATS and non-ATS vehicles incompatible or is there some other reason?

    • Steve Hyde says:

      ATS and non ATS trams can run in multiple and do so often during inter depot transfers. It may simply be that it is easier operationally to pair them up as they do so that if a mismatched pair end up on a diagram which requires ATS such as Bury Altrincham Directs there is no embarrassment when a double unit arrives at a terminus and the tram due to lead the departure is found to have no ATS.

  7. Ken Walker says:

    Thanks Steve, I thought that might be the case. I can recall several embarrassing moments on the Manchester railway network over the years when DMUs in particular have ended up on routes where they had not been assessed for clearance, due to being swapped onto a different diagram during the day.