Sunday 6th December looks set to be a busy day of line openings on the UK’s light rail systems with the news that the short section of the Second City Crossing (2CC) to Exchange Square will open – the same day as the first part of the Midland Metro extension to Bull Street is due to open.
A new timetable will be introduced from Sunday 6th December to accommodate the new services with trams running from Shaw & Crompton to Exchange Square on Mondays to Saturdays. On Sundays a slightly different service will operate with the Rochdale to Ashton-under-Lyne service being split. Services will run from Rochdale to Exchange Square and from Ashton to Victoria between 0900 and 1700. The new services to Shaw & Crompton will be the first to use the new platform D at Victoria – which is also due open to the public from 6th December.
Passengers will now be able to enjoy a tram every six minutes between Shaw & Crompton and the city centre on Mondays to Saturdays with a less frequent service being offered on Sundays.
Peter Cushing, TfGM Metrolink Director, said: “We’ve pulled out all the stops to get the new line to Exchange Square up and running before Christmas, which will be great news for the city and particularly Rochdale via Oldham line customers. In the days ahead we’ll be in the last stages of an extensive testing and commissioning process to get the stop, surrounding roads and Metrolink drivers ready for services going live. Services to Exchange Square will also see us open a new platform at Victoria stop, meaning some changes for passengers and trams. Our customers’ safety is a priority and we’ll have staff at both stops in the first weeks of service to make sure that people are taking extra care and looking out for trams running in different areas than people are used to. While most Metrolink services will remain the same from 6 December, I’d advise all passengers to visit our website to see what the new Exchange Square stop opening will mean for them.”
Once this section of the Second City Crossing opens attention will be turned towards the remainder of the line which will head to St Peter’s Square where a new four platform stop is currently being constructed. The full 2CC is due to open during 2017.
Sunday 6th December looks set to be a historic day for the UK’s tramways and light rail systems with two expanding on the same day. When was the last time two different cities saw extensions open at the same time?