Metrolink Comes to Ashton-under-Lyne

Tram services resume after a 75 year gap

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The first tram is set to leave Ashton-under-Lyne at 0559 hours on the 09 October. Seen here (and purposefully doctored for this article of course) is Flexity Swift M5000 3006, featuring MediaCityUK branding.

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.

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9 thoughts on “Metrolink Comes to Ashton-under-Lyne

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  1. caught it this afternoon to Velodrome and walked back to Clayton Hall treading over conkers dropped from a tree near the Grove. Got tram to Ashton Moss which seems to be handy for nowhere and very windswept then to Audenshaw and immediately back to Ashton. Quite a few people taking photos and I’m sure I’ve seen some of them before. The only only I actually spoke to had come from Wigan.

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    1. Hi Gerald,

      I did the full run to Bury, but before then, I did the section from Ashton to Droylsden, hopping on and off at all the stations along the way, then straight back to Ashton. Then to Bury.

      On my return journey, I caught the 135 to Shudehill Interchange and continued the journey back to Ashton-under-Lyne on the tram. Within seconds of alighting my 135 outside the Hare and Hounds!

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  2. Bit of poor research here: Ashton’s last trams were actually replaced by trolleybuses, not motorbuses. With any luck I’ll live to see Metrolink replaced by a new generation of trolleybuses. Plus ca change…..

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  3. I think the metro is wonderful. I am visiting from Australua and we are going daily to Salford Royal to visit my sister who is critically I’ll. The metro allows us to avoid the horrendous traffic and the car parking fees at the hospital.

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    1. Hi Betty,

      I love the trams, especially in the peak hours as an alternative to the packed and more expensive trains. Though trains can be twice hourly from Ashton-under-Lyne, it’s city centre penetration where the tram excels, as well as its frequency. Sometimes outside the peaks, the bus can be just as good.

      For some reason I seem to prefer the tram to the bus at evenings. If travelling from Manchester, that preference is down to whichever’s waiting in the wings (whether that’s the 216, 219, train or tram).

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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