Even before trams had started passenger service on the Oldham line testing commenced on another piece of the expanding Manchester Metrolink jigsaw on Monday 11th June – the East Manchester line between Piccadilly and Droyslden.
A two week test period is expected on the East Manchester line with businesses and residents in the area informed that the testing will take place between 2300 and 0500 each night. Trams are not expected to exceed 30mph in speed (it is unknown whether this is just during the test period or whether this speed will be maintained when services begin). During the testing there will be restricted access to side roads along Ashton New Road, Manchester Road and Ashton Road.
It is still planned that the line to Droyslden will open sometime in 2012 but as has become familiar Transport for Greater Manchester will not give a definite start date until they are confident they will be able to meet it. There is a chance that trams will start operating to the Etihad Stadium before the remainder of the line, possibly in time for the start of the new football season but then they were saying the same thing last year!
The East Manchester line will be the first Metrolink extension to leave Piccadilly Station the “other way” and will run for just short of four miles to Droylsden. Eight new stops will be opened at New Islington, Holt Town, Etihad Campus, Velopark, Clayton Hall, Edge Lane, Cemetery Road and Droylsden. A further extension to Ashton-under-Lyne is also under construction and is due to open in winter 2013/4. It is planned that trams will
run every 6 minutes at peak times and every 12 minutes off peak with a 15 minute service offered on Sundays and Bank Holidays.