As from Tuesday 5th June the second Manchester Metrolink depot at Trafford was formally opened for operational staff which means that the first time some of the serviceable fleet is now based there for passenger use. Since the depot was constructed and opened it has only been staffed by vehicle technicians with non-operational trams – mainly M5000s which haven’t been fitted with the VRS and ARS equipment – stored there but with the forthcoming introduction of services onto the Oldham Mumps line it has been decided to use it as a fully operational depot.
Full shadow running on the Oldham Mumps line started from Tuesday 5th June which is when ten M5000s were transferred to Trafford depot along with a number of operational staff. At the same time there were changes to how existing services are diagrammed, although whether any normal passengers will notice the difference is extremely doubtful!
Previously 12 sets were diagrammed to run Bury-Piccadilly-Altrincham-Piccadilly-Bury but with the new set-up these two services have been split so six sets are allocated to operate between Altrincham and Piccadilly and six sets are allocated to operate between Bury and Piccadilly with no interworking between the two services. The timetable is unchanged but it is hoped that during any disruption the whole network won’t come to a grinding halt waiting for a tram to arrive from Altrincham to form a service to Bury (for example).
The Altrincham-Piccadilly service will be allocated from the ten trams based at Trafford depot with three of the St Werburgh’s Road-Victoria-Oldham Mumps sets also being found from the Trafford allocation. This will leave one operational tram spare at Trafford each day which will presumably be undergoing maintenance during its day “off”.
Queen’s Road depot will still remain the main operational depot as the six sets for the Bury-Piccadilly service, sets on the Bury-Altrincham direct service, trams for service to Eccles and MediaCityUK and the remaining six sets needed for the Oldham Mumps service (which requires nine in total on a daily basis) will come from that allocation.
At the moment the following ten trams have been transferred to Trafford:
3001, 3003, 3004, 3008, 3009, 3011, 3012, 3016, 3017, 3020
These ten are at Trafford alongside the as yet uncommissioned M5000s and the two withdrawn T68s – 1004 and 1011 – which are not available for use.
All the other remaining operational trams are at Queen’s Road depot, including all of the
serviceable T68s and T68As. As a result of these changes the only T68s which will be seen at Altrincham will be on the Bury direct service.