Metrolink opens to Rochdale

Manchester Metrolink has opened its latest extension with the line between Shaw & Crompton and Rochdale carrying its first passengers on Thursday 28th February. M5000 3016 had the honour of forming the first service departing Trafford Bar before 0500 on a dark and chilly morning.

Services run to Rochdale from St Werburgh’s Road on the South Manchester Line at a frequency of every 12 minutes with M5000s exclusively used as T68/T68As are not allowed to run on the Oldham and Rochdale Line. Five new stops have now joined the Metrolink network at Newhey, Milnrow, Kingsway, Newbold and Rochdale Railway Station. The line will be further extended into Oldham and Rochdale town centres from 2014 which will see the current line through Oldham Mumps closed and replaced with a loop line calling at four new stops.

Cllr Colin Lambert, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The arrival of the Metrolink at Rochdale Railway Station marks a significant point in the development of this exciting project. The launch of services from Rochdale Railway Station benefits residents and businesses in the area and presents a major boost to the local economy, as well as making our borough more accessible to visitors, investors and developers. A great deal of hard work has already gone into project and I am grateful to the community for their patience during the unavoidable disruption. The good news is that the extension of the line
continues at a pace and it won’t be long before we can all enjoy the benefits it will bring once it arrives in the heart of our new town centre next year.”

Unfortunately the day did not go without incident as a points failure at Newton Heath & Moston in the evening saw services suspended between Victoria and Rochdale. The service was suspended for nearly an hour and a half before trams resumed through to Rochdale shortly before 2000.

The official line from Transport for Greater Manchester remains that the next extension to
open will on the South Manchester Line from St Werburgh’s Road to East Didsbury in summer 2013 although some rumours are suggesting that this could be as early as April. This line will be unable to open until the control room, currently located at Queens Road Depot, is moved to the new Trafford Depot. This will be followed by lines to Ashton (winter 2013/4), the aforementioned Oldham and Rochdale town centre extensions (2014) and Manchester Airport via Wythenshawe (2016) along with the proposed Second City Centre Crossing which has yet to be approved.

The first tram to Rochdale is seen at Milnrow in the hands of 3016. (Photo: Ken Walker)

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

18 Responses to Metrolink opens to Rochdale

  1. Ken walker says:

    This is the second time this week that Oldham line services have had a one and a half hour suspension. Last Sunday evening services were suspended between 2000 and 2130 because of a points and signal failure at Irk Valley Junction, a failure which had also occurred earlier in the same day.

    • freel07 says:

      Glad to see I wasn’t the only one up at silly o’clock to take part in the event Ken,thanks for posting the photo. I was sitting nice and warm on 3016 when you took it.

      • Ken Walker says:

        Did you stay on 3016 back to Manchester? I got on at Milnrow on the return journey. I was actually on the station and bought my ticket at 0533 so I suspect I bought the first ticket issued at Milnrow! Nearly slipped up with the 90-minute validity on the ticket though, got to Piccadilly station with 10 minutes to spare!

  2. roger woodhead says:

    Does anybody know who is resposible for organising repairs to track on Metrolink? Is it Metrolink who do the repairs themseves or do they call in a contractor? or is it the job of TfGM to organise these repairs? Either way the repeated failure of the points at this junction causes serious delays and will erode confidence in the service on Bury and Rochdale lines. I wonder if it is at all possible to manually operate these points and hand signal trams through, that will cause delays still but not ones of 90 minutes.
    Showing the other side of problems, on the 27th I was waiting at Piccadilly Gardens for the 2236 service to Altrincham when an Eccles bound T68a collided with a car at the crossing of Portland Street from Aytoun Street. Within 3 mins announcements were being made advising passengers to go to Market St for Bury line and Mosley St for Eccles and Altrincham. On reaching Mosley St it was clear that Piccadilly trams were already being diverted to Victoria and after about 5 mins 3020 arrived for Altrincham. I left the tram at Dane Road no more than 18 mins late, full marks to Metrolink for their rapid responce to this incident.

    • freel07 says:

      Maintenance is split between the operator for the Phase 1 & 2 infrastructure and the construction contractor for the Phase 3 extensions for a 2 year period under the warranty.

  3. All the bad news and views aside, it is fantastic that Britain’s tram networks are expanding, clealry showing their beenfit to other towns and cities across the country.

  4. Martin says:

    Heard rumours a tram was being painted in a special livery for the new line opening, but not seen it or had report of it being in service.

    Anyone know if it is correct?


  5. Ken walker says:

    Severe delays on the Rochdale line again from 3.30pm today due to points failure at Newton Heath & Moston – again. Newly-won passengers will be returning to their cars if Metrolink don’t get a grip of these repeat failures soon. With only about 7 or 8 point ends in regular use over the whole length of the Rochdale line it is unbelievable to have major disruption due to points failures 4 times in just over a week.

    • freel07 says:

      Its the same set virtually every time as well. I’m not sure whether it actually is a points failure or a failure of the single line control system. Either way it needs some close examination and intensive work to ensure its sorted.

      • Ken Walker says:

        It was given as points failure at Newton Heath & Moston on Thursday 28th and yesterday. It was given as points and signal failures at Irk Valley Junction where the Bury and Rochdale lines divide, in the morning and again in the evening of Sunday 17th Feb.

        • freel07 says:

          The status reports aren’t always accurate Ken. For example what the operators call a ‘signalling failure’ can range from a track defect through power failure to a genuine failure of the signals! Points failures can include on tram equipment failure and track defects.

          • Ken walker says:

            I was referring to the given location of the failures rather than the precise nature of the faults, but I know what you mean. Obviously they have to give the info in a non-technical way that the public will understand. I don’t think Joe Public would have much of an idea about what a track circuit or an axle counter is!

          • roger woodhead says:

            Fine contractors £250 per minute for delays as Network Rail are. Sure motivates people!

Comments are closed.