Metrolink services to Oldham start

Last week on British Trams Online we reported that subject to the successful completion
of testing services on the new Manchester Metrolink line to Oldham would start on Wednesday 13th June and that is exactly what happened when at 0524 on that date the first tram departed Manchester Victoria for the temporary stop at Oldham Mumps. In doing so it became the first tram in the town (in service anyway) since the original system closed on 3rd August 1946.

The original 25 mile Oldham Corporation Tramways system had operated between December 1900 and August 1946 before the decision was taken to close it (the final closure had actually been delayed by the Second World War) with the last tram in operation being number 4. Thus it was rather appropriate that the first tram to reach the town in the new era was M5000 3004 which formed the 0524 to Oldham Mumps and then the return 0600 to St Werburgh’s Road.

Nine trams are required to operate the service between Oldham Mumps and St Werburgh’s Road of which three are taken from the allocation based at Trafford depot with the remainder from Queen’s Road depot. On the first day of service this included the aforementioned 3004 plus 3011, 3023, 3025 and newly introduced to service 3027. All services on this line are likely to be covered by the M5000s.

The opening of this line has been much delayed with originally the section as far as Central Park due to open last spring being followed by the line as far as Oldham Mumps in Autumn 2011. Unfortunately delays with the full introduction of ATS meant this timetable was not possible and it is only now that trams can run through to Oldham Mumps. Three further extensions/route changes are planned for this line with services through to Rochdale Railway Station due to start later this year and then in 2014 the route will be altered via Oldham Town Centre (with the current Oldham Mumps station and route closing) and at the Rochdale end it will extend to the Town Centre from the Station.

British Trams Online will be adding a gallery of images from the opening day of the Oldham Mumps line in the next few weeks. We already have several photos to include in this but if you would like to add further images please email us at gareth.bto@hotmail.co.uk.

 

A busy scene at Oldham Mumps as passengers prepare to board the first tram departure from the town since 1946! (Photo: Steve Hyde)

 

Later on in the day but also at Oldham Mumps we see 3011 preparing to return towards Manchester city centre and ultimately St Werburgh's Road. (Photo: Mervyn Williams)

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3 Responses to Metrolink services to Oldham start

  1. Ken Walker says:

    Tried this service for the first time today, and running well for the most part apart from being inevitably affected by the congestion caused by the lowlifes who tried to steal cable from the Bury line, not Metrolink’s fault. The line is completely unrecognisable from Network Rail days and before. Particularly at South Chadderton where trams heading for Oldham actual traverse a downhill grade on approach to the station, whereas in NR days it was an uninterrupted climb all the way from Hollinwood to Werneth. As a result the line looks more like a mountain railway as it climbs away from South Chadderton to regain its former level at Werneth! I hope the route won’t be vulnerable to the scourge of leaf-fall: perhaps Metrolink will manage their vegetation better than Network Rail did. It’s also great that after years of 2nd-generation DMUs we again have vehicles with a forward view available. But I am surprised that after spending £36 million on the station and flyover at Central Park the speed on the flyover is limited to 10MPH, I would have thought that Metrolink would have got something a bit more “fit for purpose” for that kind of money!

  2. nigel says:

    Ken, you have made note to the fiasco that occurred yesterday. Firstly could not agree more about the low life scum and cable theft, however as usual the way metrolink went about dealing with passengers in the imediate aftermath was of course shambolic.

    Upon boarding the first tram of Radcliffe at 0605, as I made my way to the front the driver appeared to me to get the call that he could get no further than Whitefield. However he did not advise passengers of this until after he had left Radcliffe, but as going at speed up the bank the pa system was so poor no one could understand what was going on until arrival at Whitefield.

    Of course had he made the announcement before leaving Radcliffe I and many others would have abandoned journey by tram immediately and gone for the car.

    Others then reported by twitter that staff did not seem to have been briefed early enough as to the availability of replacement buses by Metrolink or if they were to use the first bus.

    The typical inefficiency, nay downright lies came later in the day for my partner who lives 2 mins from Crumpsall station but checked that normal service was running from Crumpsall to Manchester.

    So off she went to Crumpsall, buys the tickets and then waits over 30 minutes before giving up. During this period she was told by Metrolink there had been trams from Crumpsall, for goodness sake she stood there for half an hour. Perhaps she chose to deliberatley ignore those trams. !!!

    • Ken Walker says:

      I fully agree Nigel. I kept my remarks about the Bury line to a minimum as the purpose of my post was the Oldham line and I wanted to keep my post short and to the point! I remarked that the attempted cable theft was not Metrolink’s fault – which it wasn’t. As to the way in which they dealt with it, that is obviously a completely different matter, only they can be responsible for that. Metrolink has been running for 20 years now and it’s about time they got their act together regarding information to potential and actual passengers. If they can’t provide reliable info on the network they have now, I dread to think what it will be like when the whole Big Bang network is running (or not running!) I wonder if RATP are better in performance in their native network?

      I was waiting at Victoria from about 1405 for a tram back to Oldham, but 4 in a row (2 of them doubles) arrived for the Bury line from the city centre, alternate Bury line services were turned back at Victoria and as a result of the congestion it was 1425 when a tram for Oldham turned up and that was so crowded I let it go! another one turned up 5 minutes later with plenty of room.