In Pictures: Metrolink driver training to Rochdale

As reported earlier this week driver training has now started on the section of the Oldham and Rochdale line between Shaw & Crompton and Rochdale as an opening date approaches (although no official word from TfGM has yet been forthcoming). British  Trams Online reader Ken Walker provides us with a few images of the driver training featuring 3061 and 3059.

On Tuesday 12th February 3061 is seen between Newhey and Milnrow running on the inbound track. (Photo: Ken Walker)

What a difference a day makes! The following day the area had been hit with a dusting of snow as seen in this view of 3059 at Newhey. (Photo: Ken Walker)

3059 is seen in this view approaching Newhey. Whereas the previous day the training had used the inbound line today they were using the outbound line. (Photo: Ken Walker)

One final view of 3059 near Newhey on 13th February. (Photo: Ken Walker)

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15 Responses to In Pictures: Metrolink driver training to Rochdale

  1. freel07 says:

    Great photos Ken thanks for posting them. Look good in the snow.

    • Ken walker says:

      Glad you like them. On the bridge it was every bit as bleak as it looks in the last photo, and with snow falling and a strong wind blowing at the time I wasn’t sure how the photos would turn out, but not too bad in the end and worth enduring the conditions! I went out yesterday to take some more at the canal bridge at Firgrove and at Rochdale station, but they seemed to stop running at about 1p.m. and I just missed the last one, will try again on Monday.

  2. roger woodhead says:

    Excellent photos Ken, thank you. The last two not only illustrate the weather conditions the Metro has to contend with but also the wide variations in surroundings it passes through. That last one has to be the best picture I have seen of Metrolink yet.

    • Ken walker says:

      That’s very kind of you to say so Roger. Much of the credit must go to the quality of modern digital cameras that can produce such images in “point and shoot” mode, just as Ralph Oakes Garnett says about stills from modern camcorder footage on the East Manchester line thread. As you say the Metrolink network passes through very varied landscapes and I really think that the top end of the Rochdale route has the best rural scenery (but there again I am biased!). They have done a good job of managing the vegetation that Network Rail had allowed to get totally out of control, and we now have some views that haven’t been available since the 1990s. I am hoping to get some shots of the trams near the Kingsway stop tomorrow.

  3. Adam says:

    Great photos, but the last one is particularly brilliant!

  4. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Great photos Ken. Wish I had also managed the snow scenes but was not easy getting out of Diggle to Milnrow and Shaw.
    Taken some more film today between Jubilee and Rochdale Stn saw quite a few others doing the same.

    • Ken Walker` says:

      The funny this is that I hadn’t actually gone out to take photographs. I was on my way home from work (I live in Milnrow)and all I had with me was a compact camera that I always have with me “just in case”. As it was snowing I remembered taking a photo of a class 150 DMU there in the snow in about 1988(!) so I went down to the bridge on the off chance, but I had forgotten how exposed to the elements Two Bridges Road is. I decided to “give it 10 minutes” and fortunately 3059 turned up, and having established there was indeed something running I then decided to “give it another 10 minutes” for ’59 to come back. The photo that everybody seems to like was taken when ’59 was returning, and I was about to return to the warmth of the car when it showed up, so the photo nearly didn’t happen! It just goes to show that you can be as diligent as you want setting up for a shot but sometimes the best ones happen by accident.
      I was out between Two Bridges Road and Rochdale today, spent most of the morning near the Rochdale canal bridge at Firgrove, near to Kingsway stop. Will be heading towards Jubilee and Shaw tomorrow, weather permitting before it turns wintry again.

  5. GLYN R HILL says:

    well it as happened, on the 28th Febuary you wil be able to catch a Tram to Rochdale.

  6. Citytillidie says:

    As I am unlikely to make it from the depths of South Oxfordshire for the event, can I prevail upon all visitors and cameramen visiting this site to provide the same excellent depth of coverage in word and image of the run up to the reopening of the Didsbury line? As someone who lived very close to the wonderful old South District line and travelled on one of the last trains from Central to Didsbury before dashing off to Stevenson Square for the last 215 trolleybus to Hyde Road Depot, I feel the wheel has finally turned full circle. Yes it was so fitting to sit in a rake of green SR coaches pulled by Seahorse through those leafy suburbs (albeit not in Dec 1966 – it was diesel hauled by then) but I’ll settle for an M5000 to follow that delightful route which has changed so little in the last 46 years.

    • Ken walker says:

      Funnily enough I was just thinking a few days ago that the extension to East Didsbury is supposed to open in a few months and no mention has been made of it. Does anyone know if this is on time?

  7. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Don’t worry Citytillidie just waiting for the start of daytime testing and then plenty of photographs, film and conversation on East Didsbury Line from myself and am sure the other regular contributors to this exciting system.

  8. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Apparently residents in the Didsbury area have had letters stating that there will be some delay because of the East Didsbury Park and Ride and now talking about summer opening!

    • The Eye says:

      The extension to Didsbury can not be tested properly nor open until the new Control Room at Trafford Depot has opened! This isn’t due to open until April.

      As far as am I’m aware, there is no delay with the carpark at East Didsbury. That will be one of the final things done and won’t take long at all!

  9. Citytillidie says:

    Thanks Ralph and others. As the East Didsbury route is old rail alignment, the photo opportunities will be from the many overbridges, and from locations like Olive Shapley Avenue. Point your cameras westbound from Princess Road overbridge for those wonderful open vistas across Hough End Fields where I used to play footie for Old Moat Juniors as the London expresses hurtled by. Nice to hear about the Park And Ride at the terminus. If it is to be a summer opening I will no doubt be able to make it.

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