Metrolink services suspended for four hours

Monday 25th April is going to go down as “one of those days” for Manchester Metrolink we would suspect after the entire network was suspended for four hours. This came after a “serious technical issue” at Trafford Depot which led to several safety critical systems going off line.

The problems started at around 11.30am when the technical issue meant that control room staff were unable to monitor tram movements or access information displays. This led to an immediate suspension of services on all eight Metrolink lines with queues of trams reported at various locations, particularly in the city centre. Several trams were stopped away from platforms and when the decision was made to detram all passengers some wheelchair users and those with prams had to be carried off the high floor trams.

After engineers attended to the problem Metrolink services started to resume shortly after 1600 but as is usual following major disruption it wasn’t possible to run a full service immediately. Manchester Metrolink confirmed that they would be introducing a 12 minute service on all lines “throughout the evening peak”.

Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink Director, said: “It’s good news that the issue has been identified and resolved and I’d like to apologise to anyone who has been affected by today’s network issues. We are now concentrating on getting services back up and running as quickly as possible and we are aiming to restore a 12 minute service across all lines this evening.”

We would imagine that social media users went into meltdown during the disruption but life is just too short to go through what Mr Angry from Wythenshawe and Miss Irritated of Rochdale might have to say on the subject!

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

29 Responses to Metrolink services suspended for four hours

  1. David Green says:

    Unless Metrolink were editing the tweets, it seems to have been approached relatively stoicly compared to a normal day.

  2. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    It is all very well being philosphical about it but I worry about the long term effects of events like this. I want the system to suceed and everybody involved running it but I really think there should be more of a sense of urgency after these events. Passengers lost that may not return is serious business. The same urgency also needs directing at known trouble spots with antisocial behaviour that many including myself and others on here particularly on the Ashton, Oldham and Eccles lines have constantly referred to. I get embarrassed every time there is an event such as today it just gives fuel to the negative brigade.

  3. Frank Gradwell says:

    How bloody arrogant to write off the experiences of stranded passengers in such a disgraceful and arrogant way. I suggest you get on a tram today and spout off like that – especially as A & E cover is on strike today!

    The total failure of the TMS system is not a glitch – it is a potential disaster waiting to happen.

    Believe me, as a diabetic if I ever find myself in a pickle such as occurred yesterday with this incompetent and uncaring operator I will cheerfully put a door out to regain some control over my physical welfare.

    People stranded for two hours, people being laddered off these unfortunate apologies for streetcars, people walking along ballasted track is NOT acceptable – and will Mr Cushing pay my diesel bill for personally rescuing two of his passengers – Will he hell!

    The final insult was to check the Metrolink website at half past five which maintained the fiction of service delays as tram after tram swept past Rochdale station.

    I say again – Cushing should resign and there should be a public enquiry into the litany of failings that this system inflicts on the Manchester public day in day out, year in year out.

  4. Franklyn says:

    Why is it necessary to know where trams are to enable them to run? Aren’t all trams supposed to be driven on line of sight, unlike railway rolling stock which is driven reliant on signals. In other words, you should be able to drive a tram by looking what is in front of you and acting accordingly.

    To completely stop everything, not even allowing vehicles to reach the next official stop is absolutely ridiculous.

  5. Kev says:

    What a surprise you are bashing Metrolink. I have been stranded abroad when trams have failed on my way back to the airport and no one paid my taxi fare.
    Yes there are issues. Its caused by trying to run an over stretched system while changing everything over. I personally would have shut huge swathes while it was upgraded but you’d have complained then.
    Maybe you should ask Central Government why they haven’t allowed investment in better vehicles. You can only work with what you have been given. I love the fact that you would kick a door in and wilfully damage a vehicle causing possible harm to others around you – I’d press the alarm button and ask for assistance, a paramedic would come and remove you.
    Oh and for the record they aren’t Streetcars – we aren’t in America they are Trams or LRT units, occasionally LRVs.
    I wonder if anyone has given any thought to the Metrolink staff who had to deal with people like you? the drivers and customer service personnel who had to sort it all out. The technicians also trying to sort it out. Yes it was a disaster but rather than call for mass flogging call for an investigation.
    Communication fails everything stops and mass evacuation – that’s not Metrolink’s fault, that’s BRITAIN today!

    • Nigel Pennick says:

      I believe the similar high-floor stadtbahn-type vehicles in Los Angeles are referred to as ‘streetcars’, just as the high-floor vehicles in Utrecht and Manchester are ‘trams’.

  6. Phil Hart says:

    I got caught up in this at Newton Heath single line city bound (a queue of 8 trams). After over 1hr 30mins tempers were blazing and one guy broke through the emergency door to get out. People desperate for toilet and babies crying and screaming. Information was zero. People scrambling up a banking climbing a wall to get to a road.
    Two old people had panic attacks after scrambling out.
    Men from the waste depot looking to see what was going on.

    Just a disgrace – Peter Cushing should get sacked for his arrogance.

  7. D. Elison says:

    I am one of Metrolinks biggest supporters, but even I cannot defend how the entire system could fail like this, and for so long, with seemingly NO WAY of getting people at least to the next stop to alight? (Or maybe even as a last resort, running “back” to the previous stop?) Did the “cab to control” telephone communication also fail?
    I heard Mr Cushing on BBC GMR radio this morning, and in my opinion, he just didn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of what happened on Monday, from the point of view of the “passenger”.

  8. Frank Gradwell says:


    Please read the last sentence of my comment – and then apologise for your lack of comprehension. As for mass floggings – please – pass me the cat – bagsy first go. Perhaps then the complacent plonkers who manage this set up might understand what pain is – they are too busy balancing on their wallets to notice just now. Cushing if he had any sense of morality would go now of his own volition – but he’s probably not pensionable yet!

    Lack of investment – are you having a giraffe??? How many hundreds of millions, if not billions, has Metrolink spent to get us to where we are today???

    As for press the emergency button and wait – and wait – and wait – Get real you silly silly man! Read Phil’s post and try to understand!

    • Kev says:

      What an aggressive and insulting man you are Mr. Gradwell. I feel rather insulted that you consider me to have a lack of comprehension. It’s just that I tend to stop paying attention to ill thought out juvenile rants. You are the sort of person who gives enthusiasts a bad name when people read sites such as this.

      It doesn’t matter how much money has been spent, has it been spent wisely? Or all on consultants? The M5000 are not top spec vehicles – they can’t even have a crush load without the doors jamming for goodness sake. In my humble opinion staying high floor was a huge mistake. How much simpler and safer to have evacuated from a fleet of low floor cars? Yes onto ballast isn’t great but fewer staff could have done it and quicker and saved a lot of the upset Phil witnessed. You could also have longer vehicles with more space.

      I would certainly rather have what we have than nothing – because that’s the option. Yes its not great and its not ready yet and IF YOU read the post I put you would see my comment about the system should have been shut in portions to get it right but local authority wouldn’t allow it.

      If you feel you can’t get help from the help button perhaps you shouldn’t use the system. Oh, sorry you don’t you just whinge about it and give people lifts to and from it.

      Yes I agree it was a mess, evacuation should have happened sooner but what were staff told? The cause should be investigated and sorted. This is the problem with the culture we have today, always blame the management – no one else will be any better. I’m not defending Cushing – I can’t stand the man but your bile should be directed towards whoever isn’t sorting the system out.

      My sympathies are with all those affected – Metrolink is vastly over crowded at times and these incidents don’t help. So my questions on the other day would be: Why did it take so long to evacuate? What communication was there and with who? What caused the error and was anyone responsibe or is it a system design error? Why do all cars have to stop and can this be addressed? Now who sorts it and who carries the can? In reality not legally – that’s the key issue!

  9. Kev says:

    As has been said elsewhere line of sight only works when you actually have a line of sight. Whilst i agree that Trams with a clear view could have been driven to a platform (assuming the signals/traffic lights were working) any Tram needed to pass a danger point with restricted visibility such as a tunnel etc obviously could not proceed. I assume, though have not had it confirmed, that in event of not knowing where vehicles are is an automatic everything stops as insisted by ORR.

  10. Gareth Prior says:

    Can we all please be friends (or at least pretend to be?). We won’t be approving any more comments on this subject unless it adds something new to the discussion and no messages where personal insults are thrown in will be added regardless. Thank you.

  11. mike stone says:

    But it would appear trams are permitted to run where there is no clear line of sight – approaching Colyhurst tunnel there is an illuminated sign showing “25” and lettered “if no light is showing max speed 25mph”.

  12. David T says:

    I think the main thing that has come out of this is the trams are the wrong type. If they were low floor the passengers could have alighted and made alternative arraignments and not sat for 4 hours twiddling their thumbs. It is time that Manchester does what Hanover did and lower the exits. I witnessed an incident When the driver had to get through the passengers open the doors and put out a small ladder for the passengers to alight. It looked dangerous as they came off forwards instead of backwards. I shudder to think what would happen if a tram caught fire.

    • Gareth Prior says:

      I’m afraid that the time for going low floor for Manchester has passed now. Can you imagine the reaction from the travelling public if TfGM suddenly said they were closing large sections of the network to rebuild all the stops and that the brand new trams were going to be replaced at a huge cost?!

  13. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Manchester could do what Koln has done and have some low floor routes in the future, it can be done. The high floor routes can stay high floor but thought for future lines may include low floor. I notice the K5000s are used on high floor routes 3 and 4. The low floor routes use trams similar to those in Croydon.

  14. David T says:

    if you studied the Hannover tramway they converted their trams to retractable steps so that if stopped at a conventional station then you could Step off onto the platform but if the stop was a low platform then the upper step lowered to make a staircase.
    As Manchester has got new trams then they have 20 to 30 years to plan ahead.

    • Kev says:

      sadly you can’t do that here as it would fall foul of DDA regulations. The original T68 cars had steps for low platform sections if I recall.

    • David T says:

      If you read my note above you will see I said that about the Hannover retractable trams.
      Also Manchester’s trams platforms were built elsewhere and laid on sight in sections so the actual replacements should not be a problem. Only the Bury and Altringham line would require full rebuilding as they are ex B.R. Platforms.

  15. pete says:

    over expanded the system too quickly ..walk before you can run as they say…and the new trams are not good

  16. Frank Gradwell says:

    Saturday morning – power outage stops trams across the city.

    Passengers again stranded.

    If it is not for the management to consider and resolve these continual and ongoing problems then who is to take control?

    I am so sorry that Manchester is saddled with this system – but the entrenched attitudes that resist and prevent change are all too obvious here and across the tramway movement which thinks it has a right to exist, not a job to compete!

    Hard questions demand hard answers, not shying away from where things are going wrong.

  17. Howie B says:

    Reference Gallery 606, can I take issue with two of your captions describing the Metrolink cars travelling along Barlow Moor Road? It would be wonderful if they did, recreating the old 13, 23, 45 and 46 routes of a byegone era and meeting up with the reserved track tramroad on Princess Road (36 and 44 routes). The Metrolink route crosses Barlow Moor Road and progresses along Hardy Lane – itself along with Mauldeth Road West earmarked as a possible tramway extension in the Mattinson era. Had he not died so suddenly, who knows what would have happened to the MCTD tram network? Instead a certain Scottish gent built 38 admittedly superb cars then tore into the whole system with unseemly haste. Had it not been for WW2 the whole system would have gone by 1942.

  18. Kev says:

    I’ve since been told that even though most sections rely on line of sight, if something occurred and a Tram did go through a signal it shouldn’t or the signal was defective with communication out control wouldn’t know. Also I’ve been told as was mentioned that the standing instruction is all stop from powers way above Metrolink.

  19. David Butterworth says:

    Is it not the case that the (original system) has been in use for 24 years? Until recently few complained about the high floor trams and platforms. It seems that only one really serious incident in 24 years gets everyone in a terrible flap (esp. F.G.) Such an incident may never happen again and I am certain that the Metrolink team will endeavour to make sure that it doesn’t. It could be argued that the occurrence was due in part to trying to run a large system in the process of undergoing a major extension. Also, what is wrong (Pete’s comment) with the vehicles? I have never been stranded, to date, anyway. The vehicles are expensive enough, built by the Continental builder Bombardier, who build many trams for other systems ! Actually I prefer our trams to these ‘bendy caterpillar like’ low floor creations found on other routes. To me thy are bits of a tram joined by umptine flexity sections whereas ours have two recognizable halves similar to a Blackpool Twin- car!

  20. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    I understand what you are saying David but there have been many occasions when there has been disruption. Ok last week was a one off but I myself have been on the receiving end of being stuck on a delayed tram many times for many reasons. The trams are ok but the number of disruptions never seems to improve. Like yourself I really want the system to be the best and it hurts everytime these incicents occur. I often wonder when I get a tram to town if I am going to be able to get back. Getting a bit like the local Firstbus 184 having to walk from Marsden to Diggle on one memorable occasion. Let us all hope that things will get better.

    • David Butterworth says:

      Yes, I agree. My only hope is that when the second city crossing is completed that it will put an end to the problems.

    • Ken Walker says:

      Ticket machine issues aren’t getting much better either. I have had several occasions when the machines have refused to accept any money and in the course of going to the other platform to use the machine there I have missed my tram despite arriving at the station in good time. A couple of weeks ago I went to Newhey and tried to purchase a ticket to Piccadily, it corrctly quoted £4.30 but after taking my money it issued me with a £2.70 single to Rochdale railway station! If they want to operate a pay before travelling system they should at least sort the machine problems out. Having this sort of hassle just spoils the journey.

Comments are closed.