A good day for Metrolink!

On the day that the East Manchester Line officially opened to the public (even if to all intents and purposes it had been open since Friday 8th February) it was announced by Transport for Greater Manchester that driver training has now commenced as far as Rochdale Railway Station on the Oldham and Rochdale Line. The first official departure from Piccadilly Station to Droylsden left at 0510 on Monday 11th February and later the same morning the first day of full driver training commenced between Shaw & Crompton and Rochdale Railway Station.

Speaking about the official opening of the East Manchester Line, Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “Today was a very special moment – an historic moment for Metrolink, Manchester and Tameside. I have been eagerly awaiting the launch of services to Droylsden since funding was confirmed in 2008. A great deal of hard work has gone into this new line, a great deal of challenges overcome, and we are now realising the benefits of all that effort. I want to thank the people of Manchester and Tameside for their patience, and trust that it will be rewarded many times over. I am in no doubt that Metrolink will be of huge benefit to residents and businesses in both areas – just as it has been everywhere else it serves.”

Tickets to any of the stops in Manchester City Centre (up to and including Victoria or Deansgate-Castlefield) start at £3.40 for a peak “anytime” single from Droylsden or Cemetery Road stops and £2.40 from stops between Edge Lane and New Islington. Peak returns cost £5.40 and £3.70 respectively with off peak (after 0930) tickets at £3.80 and £2.90.

Trams will run to Droylsden from Bury (an extension of the previous Bury-Piccadilly service) with eight new stops now open for business at New Islington, Holt Town, Etihad
Campus, Velopark, Clayton Hall, Edge Lane, Cemetery Road and Droylsden. In addition trams from MediaCityUK will also be running onto the East Manchester Line as far as Velopark although they will not be in service between Piccadilly and Velopark.

Meanwhile there were more positive signs for Metrolink as driving training commenced through to Rochdale Railway Station from the current terminus of Shaw & Crompton. As part of this training pedestrians and motorists in Shaw are being warned about the fact trams will be running across Beal Street. Traffic at this location will be controlled by a signal on the junction with the layout clearly being signposted from both approaches but TfGM are warning people to be careful as it has been some time since rail borne vehicles operated in this vicinity.

Peter Cushing, TfGM Metrolink Director, said: “These tests are another important stage of getting Metrolink up-and-running in Rochdale. I am grateful for the patience of the community as we move forward with the extension of the Oldham-Rochdale line to the town.”

The extension of the line through to Rochdale will see a further five stops joining the Metrolink network at Newhey, Milnrow, Kingsway, Newbold and Rochdale Railway Station. Two further extensions to the line are due to open in 2014 when the Oldham Town Centre and Rochdale Town Centre sections will be completed and ready to start operations.

No official opening date of the line to Rochdale has yet been given but the start of driver training is a positive step towards this happening and on the same day as the East Manchester Line opened fully to the public it is most certainly a good day for Metrolink!

This entry was posted in Manchester Metrolink. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to A good day for Metrolink!

  1. Ken walker says:

    3061 was running through Milnrow this afternoon on driver training. I noticed that they were only using the inbound line in both directions, I don’t know whether this was to avoid clashing with the service trams when crossing over at Shaw or for other reasons

  2. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    I was filming at 11am that morning and I noted that 3061 was on one line going up and down and 3059 on the opposite line doing the same! Both filmed at Milnrow Station and Jubilee Bridge.

    • Ken walker says:

      Thanks for the info Ralph. I saw 3059 today on the opposite line but I’ve only seen 1 round trip each day (too old to be out in the cold!!). 59 looked nice in the snow at Two Bridges Road this afternoon in the snow! Novel idea running it as 2 parallel single lines though. Is that 23/24 of this month that you mean or March?

  3. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Keep your fingers crossed for 23/24 and probable official opening on 25th

    • Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

      Yes I have heard February 23/24.

      • freel07 says:

        A source on another forum has said 18th March.

        • Ken walker says:

          I would have thought that was more likely, 2 weeks doesn’t seem much for driver training, although it’s probably more straightforward than the Droylsden line with former railway alignment and minimal interface with road traffic. I believe they also use a simulator as part of the training, so how many actual trips each driver needs to make before ‘signing the road’ I don’t know.

          • Ken walker says:

            According to tomorrow’s (!) Rochdale Observer newspaper, Milnrow page, the local councillor states “Everyone in the village keeps asking me about when it is due to open but I have been as much in the dark as they are. The delay has now become a joke with the many rumoured reasons. But Metrolink staff have now told me that training is now in progress and it will be about 4 weeks”. So March 18th is looking favourite then. But I don’t know how literally we can take what he says. Neither I or any of my family have ever spoken to the man never mind asked him about the opening date!

        • Ken walker says:

          TfGM are still keeping the opening date a secret but it is obvious that shadow running started today with St. Werburgh’s Road to Shaw services carrying on out of service to Rochdale. I saw 3007/10/14/28/31/38 between Milnrow and Rochdale this morning so Ralph may be right about it being next weekend. The opening of the service to Mumps and then Shaw was only announced a few days beforehand, and I would think that the shadow running phase would be shorter than the training one. The training phase with dedicated trams only took a week! But whether opening will be in a week or a month, TfGM know when it is going to be, and it’s time they started engaging with their potential customers and stopped being so secretive.

  4. Ken walker says:

    Metrolink website announcing delays between Shaw & Crompton and St. Werburgh’s Road ‘due to an earlier tram failure at Shaw and Crompton’. So another M5000 failure then, they’ve not lasted long. I don’t know what they’ll be like when they get as old as the T68s are now!

    • freel07 says:

      Considering the T68s at the same age were failing at the rate of 1 a day with a smaller fleet size the current failure rate isn’t that bad.

  5. roger woodhead says:

    Freel07, when I was a lot younger a fitter with Manchester Corporation at their Parrs Wood Depot when questioned about Leyland buses said ‘we put them on the road and forget about them for the next 500,000 miles’ he was referring to the engine of course but that is how a tram should be. M5000 failing now should be making people ask questions not least of which is are they still in warranty, I still have not forgotten 3045’s failure which was serious especially as it had been in service about 2 weeks.

    • freel07 says:

      I must be careful not to offend here as I don’t know what ear of Leyland bus you are referring to but I would guess it wasn’t a 1960s Atlantean as they had an appalling reliability record. however assuming you mean a late 1950s early 1960s PD2 they were a pretty simple machine with no frills and therefore very little to fail. A modern tram has so many subsystems demaned by the mutitude of regulations which now proliferate that a comparison with a PD2 is simply not possible. You yourself say that the claim was made in respect of the engine. A modern tram traction motor will far exceed the 500,000 miles claimed without a failure. Some of the M5000s may now be out of warranty but the majority will still be covered. I assume you have heard of the ‘bathtub curve’ in relation to reliability. This shows that in the first few weeks of service a complex machine will suffer a higher than average failure rate. This improves quite quickly and the curve flattens out at a low fauilure rate for much of the service life until it starts to rise again twoards the end of the expected service life.

      Most of the M5000s are either in the early part of the curve or are just entering the flatter part of the curve. 3045 would have been right at the start as would 3046 which failed yesterday. Thyere will be no complacency about failures but the profile of these failure rates is unfortunately a fact of life.

      There are still less M5000 failures with around 50 in service than there were T68 failures in 1993/4 with only 26 in service.

  6. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    I just wonder how the similar trams are behaving in Koln?

  7. nigel says:

    Having been in Germany for 8 days just catching up and reading this thread. I do not profess to keep a track on failure rates etc but what I do find interesting is oftgm and metrolinks response to tram failures.

    When a T series tram fails they both go to great efforts to make sure the public are aware its a T series, however whenever a M series breaks down its just a failed vehicle.

    Now back to east Berlin, if only, where government it seems have ploughed plenty of money into their public transport system. It leaves us a laughing stock in comparison.

    Plus of course the public realise that if you walk in front of a tram you are likely to get hit, therefore they do not walk in the tram tracks !

    I really do feel for the drivers in the town centre, the pedestrians are idiotic to be polite.

Comments are closed.