Tram services resume after a 75 year gap
Tomorrow morning, Metrolink’s East Manchester Line will be completed, offering Ashtonians a third way to the centre of Manchester. The new light rail service from Ashton-under-Lyne to Bury will not only offer commuters a less crowded way to Manchester city centre, but also reinstate a link to another Lancashire town, absent since September 2004.
Ashton’s last tram departed on the 01 March 1938. There was no ceremony, and its replacement by motorbuses was seen as inevitable. Now, if they foresaw anything like 2013 style of congestion 75 years ago…?
Metrolink services will operate from Ashton-under-Lyne to Bury via Piccadilly and Victoria railway stations every 12 minutes. Evening services will run every 15 minutes. In the near future, this will be increased to every 6 minutes between Ashton-under-Lyne and Piccadilly Gardens with trams every 12 minutes to Eccles, complementing the Bury service. This will not only complement Northern Rail’s all stations service to Liverpool Lime Street, it will also offer direct access to the Lowry Centre, Imperial War Museum North and MediaCityUK.
Between Ashton-under-Lyne and Droylsden are three intermediate stops: Ashton West, Ashton Moss and Audenshaw.
Ashton West is ideal for visiting the Cineworld multiplex cinema and the nearby ten pin bowling alley. Off the stop along Richmond Road, the Tameside Stadium (for Curzon Ashton F.C.) and Ashton Cricket Club on Rayner Lane are only a short walk away.
Ashton Moss is perfectly positioned for the Ashton Park Garden Centre. The Lord Sheldon Arms and The Snipe Inn are a short walk from the stop, should you need a pint of John Willies’ or Robbies’ finest.
Audenshaw is a good stop if you fancy calling in to F&S Scale Models on Manchester Road (and if you are lucky, you may be able to build your own model Metrolink tram!), or happen to be attending a wedding ceremony at Ryecroft Hall. The Manchester and Ashton-under-Lyne Canal is a short walk away too.
It will offer a traffic free way to the Etihad Campus and Old Trafford, saving many Ashtonians the joys of a clogged Ashton New Road or Ashton Old Road on matchdays. Or whenever there’s a concert on at any of the two venues. Furthermore, it aims to bring people in to the centre of Ashton-under-Lyne, though the restoration of a direct link to Bury would please many passengers who miss the 400 Trans-Lancs Express route.
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Will you boarding the first Metrolink tram from Ashton-under-Lyne tomorrow morning? Will you be one of the first commuters, eschewing the train or 216 for this mode of transport? Feel free to comment.
East of the M60 will be doing a pictorial round-up of Ashton-under-Lyne’s new trams. Stay tuned for further announcements.
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S.V., 08 October 2013.