In Pictures: The Metrolink’s East Manchester Line and Rochdale Extension

Another collection of cheap and cheerful pictures from the two parts of the Metrolink’s newest additions

Rochdale tram station, disembarking
Rochdale’s newly opened tram station, and 3044 about to depart for Oldham and St. Werburgh’s Road.

The East Manchester Line has been open for almost a month, but other commitments have stopped me venturing along this stretch. Today, I decided to right this wrong and take in the newly opened Shaw to Rochdale extension as well. One bus into Droylsden later, I would continue my journey to Manchester and Rochdale on the tram.

Here’s the proof of the pudding…

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1. East Manchester Line: Droylsden to Piccadilly:

Droylsden tram station and Flexity Swift M5000
Droylsden tram station, and the Concord Suite in the background.
Edge Lane tram
Edge Lane tram station and a Droylsden bound tram.
Edge Lane station sign
Transport for Greater Manchester/Metrolink RATP publicity celebrating the new Edge Lane station.
Etihad Stadium and ASDA
Two sights familiar to millions: the Etihad Stadium and the mammoth ASDA/Walmart Supercentre.
Etihad Campus tram station, Droylsden end
Another sight familiar to millions, especially after five pm or ten pm: the Manchester platform of Etihad Campus tram station.
Etihad Campus tram station, Manchester end
The Etihad Campus’ Droylsden platform and the Tennis Centre.
Chips apartment block, Ancoats
The Chips apartment block, New Islington, Ancoats. No sign of Broderick Crawford boarding here.
Droylsden bound tram, Piccadilly
Heading towards Piccadilly station.

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2. Shaw – Rochdale extension

Milnrow station poster
‘Way to go Milnrow’, among a number of station signs enticing potential passengers.
Newbold station
Newbold Station: one of three completely new stations on the Shaw and Rochdale section. Off camera is the Morrisons store, on the site of Rochdale Hornets’ old ground.
High Level Road, Rochdale
A Rochdale tram negotiating the High Level Road.
Rochdale tram station, towards railway station
Heavy Rail Meets Light Rail: the 1980 railway station building in the background with a St. Werburgh’s Road tram waiting in the wings.
Rochdale tram station and Fire Station
Old Meets New: the newly opened tram station and the 1933 fire station, which also houses the Greater Manchester Fire Museum.

S.V., 03 March 2013.


4 thoughts on “In Pictures: The Metrolink’s East Manchester Line and Rochdale Extension

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  1. I explored a bit of the Droylsden line on Saturday. After wandering the environs of Holt Town I saw the tram leaving so waited about three minutes for the 216 bus – as we got to Clayton the tram was only just a little way ahead – by the time the bus was at Cemetery Road the tram was passing the library. As the bus pulled in next to Droylsden tram stop passengers from the tram were still crossing the road so I think it puts the lie to the idea of the tram being SO much faster. For being able to get straight through Manchester though it wins hands down (barring points failures)


    1. Hi Gerald,

      I suppose the difference between bus and tram journey times are minimal outside the peak hours. The real test is probably morning and evening peaks, school runs, Manchester City’s home matches and concerts at the Etihad Stadium. I would assume the difference between bus and tram journey times may be greater during then.

      Bye for now,



  2. I did the inaugural day travelling on both of these new line extensions. Passing through New Islington and Holt Town shows parts of old Manchester, whereas the next sections are much more reflective of the changes taking place in East Manchester. The temporary terminus in Droylsden with its views of the Concord Suite building brought back memories of times now long passed to me. The weather was fine, but bitterly cold on the first day of operation.

    With regard to the newly-opened extension from Shaw & Crompton to Rochdale railway station, I actually persuaded my good lady wife of 72 years vintage to join me. I am a mere whippersnapper fast approaching 68. The journey past Shaw passed through some open field areas and it was good to see both Newhey and Milnrow again with double tracks and two platforms. The onward journey through Newbold and the open land area that is earmarked for Kingsway Business Park soon passed and the tram climbed over the heavy rail tracks in the final approaches to the temporary terminus at Rochdale, that is overlooked by the church of St John the Baptist with its large impressive top dome.

    However, the walk down into Rochdale town centre through “slalom-type” barriers and soil-encrusted “pathways” was one that spoilt the day for both my wife and I. Best say nothing more on this matter and the return walk back up the hill. However, we had an excellent mid-day meal in the restaurant of Beale’s department store to “soften the blow”.

    I think that this is the longest-ever posting that I have made on “East of the M60”.


    1. Hi Paul,

      Good to see you managed to do both the East Manchester Line and Shaw to Rochdale extension on their first days! A very true observation as to how East Manchester has changed (I would love to see photos of the same spots 30 – 50 years earlier if any exist!). Far and away, Shaw to Newhey’s my favourite section of Metrolink track owing to the scenery (glad to see it doubled for the first time since 1979).

      I noticed the forest full of fences as I walked from the fire station to Milkstone Road for a spicy chicken burger. Another way you could have gone: Lower Tweedale Street, right of Haji’s Cash and Carry, then right on to Milkstone Road, towards Drake Street and Broadfield Park via Sparrow Hill and The Esplanade. From there, you could walk in to the town centre, passing the town hall and the River Roch. For food in the centre of Rochdale, The Baum next to the Rochdale Pioneers’ Co-op store/museum (Toad Lane) is well worth visiting. It is also CAMRA Pub of the Year owing to its atmosphere and real ales.

      Bye for now,



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