In Pictures: Broken rail and the revised Metrolink services

There have been service revisions on Manchester Metrolink ever since Tuesday 16th January after the discovery of a broken rail at Victoria with the latest change being introduced from Monday 12th February to try and solve reliability issues through the city centre. In this article we take a look at the revised service in operation as well as a view of the affected section of tramway. Photos are from Keith Chadbourne.

The broken rail was discovered just outside of Victoria Station on the section of track where 1CC and 2CC split. To minimise disruption whilst a replacement section was ordered from the manufacturer a straight section of track was installed which mean that 2CC was severed from the network until the crossing was reinstalled again. At the present time there is no date for when the work will be able to take place with the latest TfGM statement saying: “As of Monday 12 February, Metrolink and the track manufacturer are working to establish a date for the track crossing to be reinstalled.”.

When the problem was first discovered an attempt was made to divert all services which usually run via 2CC onto 1CC (that’s the East Didsbury-Rochdale and peak time East Didsbury-Shaw and Crompton services). However, it was soon found that this was causing congestion and leading to service delays for all services which run on this section of the network (also including Bury-Piccadilly and Bury-Altrincham services) and so from Monday 12th February things were changed once again.

Whilst the East Didsbury-Rochdale service continues to run via 1CC, the East Didsbury-Shaw and Crompton service has been sent back to running onto 2CC. But this peak time service is only able to run as far as Exchange Square with the section of tramway from there to Victoria remaining out of bounds. That means there are no extra peak time services from Exchange Square to Shaw and Crompton; although Metrolink are trying to run additional double units to Rochdale.

Trams from East Didsbury run into the normal Victoria bound platform at Exchange Square where they terminate. Then upon departure back to East Didsbury they use the crossover at the St Peter’s Square end of the stop to gain the correct track again. 3023 demonstrates for us.

3062 – at the rear of a double unit bound for Bury – has just passed over the area where the broken rail is located. (Photographs x2 by Keith Chadbourne, 12th February 2024)

This view shows the crossing where the crack was found and the temporary arrangement installed to allow 1CC services to continue to run. A section of curved plain rail has been installed to replace the offending crossing casting.

3011 stands at the northbound platform with a barrier obstructing the normal movements. It is displaying East Didsbury where is will be heading to when it departs via the emergency crossover the south end of the stop. (Photographs x2 by Steve Hyde, 13th February 2024)

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