After our brief update last week on the latest situation regarding testing beyond Oldham Mumps on the Manchester Metrolink extension to Rochdale, Transport for Greater Manchester have now given an official update on what is going on with a suggestion that passengers may be able to board a tram as far as Shaw & Compton from early in 2013.
As we mentioned last week the first tram had been used on clearance tests as far as Shaw & Compton and Oldham Councillors have now been invited to check on the progress of the line.
Cllr Dave Hibbert, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Planning, said: “The sight of trams crossing Mumps is a landmark, not just for this project, but for the wider changing face of Oldham and the regeneration of the town centre. It’s great to see the infrastructure for this line now in place. It’s vital now that the right testing takes place to ensure the safety and reliability of the service.”
It is now planned that sometime early in the new year – providing there is a successful period of commissioning and testing – services will be extended the short distance from Oldham Mumps to Derker and Shaw & Compton stops – ahead of the full opening through to Rochdale Railway Station a few months later. It has originally been thought that the next opening on the Oldham and Rochdale line would be the full length to Rochdale but thoughts have obviously changed since then.
Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “The progress we’re now making on the extension to Shaw & Crompton and Rochdale Rail Station is positive and welcome and within the timescales we’ve been working to. The sight
of the first tram crossing Oldham Mumps was an historic moment and a sign of things to come. That said, there are still some significant challenges involved, not least a very thorough period of testing and commissioning – and the weather conditions will also be a factor. So the work in the coming weeks and months will be crucial to maintain the programme so that people in Derker and Shaw & Crompton can benefit from the arrival of Metrolink early in the New Year.”