The Oldham town centre extension of Manchester Metrolink is set to be the third extension in a row to open ahead of schedule with an early 2014 commencement of public services now looking likely. It had originally been planned that passengers would first be carried through Oldham town centre in spring 2014 but because the redevelopment works at Victoria have now been delayed from January to the end of February/start of March it has now been possible to bring this date forward.
Unfortunately ahead of the opening of the Oldham town centre line the line between Central Park and Rochdale Railway Station will be closed for a week. This will allow engineers to connect the extension fully to the existing line with the section through the Oldham Mumps (temporary) stop being closed to Metrolink services. A full week is required for this to take place but as soon as it is completed it will be possible to start services through Oldham town centre and onwards to Rochdale.
Peter Cushing, TfGM Metrolink Director, said: “It’s been several months since we announced the changes in store at Victoria and in that time we’ve been able to develop the detail and also make great progress on the Oldham town centre line. The two taken together have presented the window of opportunity to deliver Oldham’s new line much earlier than expected, which is fantastic. There is a lot of work to get through before we can be more specific on exactly when the town centre line will open, but we’ll make sure everyone is kept up to speed as things progress so people can plan and prepare accordingly.”
Full details of just when the week long closure will be have yet to be announced and when they are information of replacement bus services will also be provided.
The redevelopment works at Victoria, which are now not expected to start until late February, will see Metrolink capacity improved with a complete redesign including new platforms. As a result of the work only a single line will be maintained through the area with services from Bury terminating at Abraham Moss and trams from Ashton-under-Lyne being diverted to Eccles. Trams coming off the Oldham and Rochdale line will continue to operate through Victoria.