In Pictures: Opening Day of Shaw to Oldham Metrolink Line

Successful opening day of new extension in camera

Was it really three years, two months and two weeks since Shaw’s rail link was severed? Where did the time go? Most of it seemingly went by zombie style to Manchester or Oldham, either by car or aboard the 59. From today, the good people of Shaw and surrounding area got their rail link back, albeit in the form of the Metrolink.

Trams operate every 12 minutes seven days a week. Sunday services operate every 15 minutes with its 12 minute frequency in operation from 0900 to 1730. The 15 minute Sunday service equals the weekday frequency of the original British Rail/Northern Rail service, and a great improvement on the predecessor’s Sunday operations.

There has been a positive response to the extension with reports of the first tram from Shaw, at 0650 this morning, being packed! Metrolink staff were there to help passengers board their trams and purchase their tickets. Photography was also encouraged with enthusiasts seen outside Shaw, Derker and Oldham Mumps tram stations.

For now, I shall let the pictures do the talking…

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Shaw Says Hello To Trams
What Can’t Speak Can’t Lie: Brand Spanking New Trams reach Shaw and Crompton.
Shaw and Crompton station
3056 M5000 Flexity Swift, stabled on what will become the Rochdale platform.
Shaw and Crompton (2)
Ready to roll: 3041 about to embark on its journey to St. Werburgh’s Road.
M5000 interior, Shaw and Crompton station
Familiar to millions from Bury to Altrincham, Oldham Mumps, Eccles and Chorlton-cum-Hardy, but new to Shaw and Derker passengers: the interior of Metrolink’s Flexity Swift trams. An improvement on the Pacer units which monopolised this route, though regrettably, a no-go area for cyclists.
Raring to Go
Raring to Go: our chauffeur along the hour long journey from Shaw and Crompton to St. Werburgh’s Road.
Derker Station
Derker tram station. The forecourt is a work-in-progress at the moment with new car parking facilities under construction.
Derker Station (3)
An overall view of Derker tram station, seen towards the Rochdale and Shaw end of the Oldham Loop Line. Fortunately for us, the weather was on our side.
Freehold Station
Freehold Station, which at the time of my visit was the busiest tram stop.
M5000 interior, Failsworth
Inside a well loaded tram between Hollinwood and Failsworth. You could be forgiven for thinking this may be a peak hour or shoulder peak hour journey, but the run up to Christmas has made for peak hour loads on Sundays.
Central Park station
3014, moments away from continuing its journey towards Chorlton-cum-Hardy.
Central Park (2)
Central Park station: some might say this stop was over-engineered, though it forms a gateway to the nearby business park. Built shortly after the original Phase 3 plans were put on ice, it could have been an expensive folly. Thankfully today, it isn’t. In future years, this could be a stop close to FC United of Manchester’s possible new home.

S.V., 16 December 2012.


6 thoughts on “In Pictures: Opening Day of Shaw to Oldham Metrolink Line

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    1. Much appreciated, Paul.

      I was happy to find the weather working in my favour, and of course for the good people of Shaw and Derker who gained their trams. Already getting excited about its arrival in Droylsden this coming February. Needless to say, I shall try my best to get some pictures from their first day whenever that arises!

      Bye for now,



  1. One good thing is that apart from the finn back bridge at Central Park the rest of the line has now been speeded up and I believe trams run on full line speed now, I know yesterday morning I was on 3041 at about 09:15 from South Chadderton and it only took it about 15mins to get from South Chadderton to Victoria and then another 5mins to get from Victoria-Market Street, think a couple of problems happened in the morning though as I noticed one tram going towards Shaw at Newton Heath/Moston then no sooner we had gone through the signal protecting the single line another tram to Shaw was waiting to go through so that would have made about 2 trams to Shaw within 5mins of each other


    1. Hi Andrew,

      It was quite a good journey, though one where I didn’t get a seat from Freehold up to Market Street (memo to self: plan another trip some time in the near future). Happily, no delays too.

      The ride on the Flexity Swift trams was the smoothest I’ve enjoyed. Therefore, an early criticism I made of the trams in 2009 could be down to the state of the track I experienced from Altrincham to Cornbrook.

      Bye for now,



  2. yes what a fantastic structure!! The station roof shall be lasting landmark for Manchester. It also makes strong reference to the City of Manchster Stadium


    1. Hi DB,

      My thoughts exactly. It seems to be a nice riposte to the City of Manchester Stadium. Moreover, it is engineered to accommodate City fans as well as commuters (though the Etihad Complex station will open in a month’s time).

      Bye for now,



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