Tuesday 13th September was a bad night for Manchester Metrolink following a major storm which saw lightning strikes on two substations and flooding in the city centre. At one stage all lines were completely suspended but as the evening progressed services started to resume on most lines although both the Altrincham and Bury lines remained suspended throughout the evening.
The day had started off as any other with no sign of what was to happen but as the day progressed the clouds started to roll in as the storm arrived in Greater Manchester. Shortly before 1830 there were two separate lightning strikes on substations at Prestwich and Radcliffe which caused the whole Metrolink network to be suspended. There was also severe flooding in Manchester City Centre with the stop at Market Street surrounded by water (probably just as well it is a high floor system as otherwise the platform would probably have been under water!)
Although it was possible that evening for services to resume on most of the Metrolink network both the Bury and Altrincham lines remained out of action for the rest of the night and the Rochdale line was only running between Monsall and Rochdale Town Centre with services in the city centre from Piccadilly Gardens to Victoria unable to run and the Airport line only operating to and from Firswood.
Engineers walked throughout the night enabling services to resume on all lines on Wednesday 14th September but initially it wasn’t possible for trams to run the direct Bury to Altrincham service. To make up for the lack of through service the standard Altrincham to Piccadilly service (with double trams) was supplemented by a tram every 12 minutes between Altrincham and Deansgate-Castlefield in time for the evening peak. Passengers on the Bury line were not quite so lucky as they only had a 12 minute frequency from Bury to Etihad Campus.
It was reported that half a months rain fell in a few hours which understandably caused these problems and it is worth pointing out it wasn’t only Metrolink which was affected with Manchester City’s Champions League match also postponed along with other transport problems.
* Another car has also managed to get stuck on the tram tracks over the past few days. A Toyota Yaris got a bit lost around Victoria driving down the tracks towards the railway station where it came to a stand once it left the paved section of track. The incident happened at approximately 2200 on Thursday 15th September.