In Pictures: Ashton-under-Lyne’s New Trams

A pictorial round up of the Metrolink’s latest addition

As promised yesterday, pictures of the Metrolink trams and station on the opening day of the Ashton-under-Lyne to Droylsden section. Let’s hear it for the trams!

Flexity Swift M5000 3060b, Ashton-under-Lyne
The weather could have been better, with showers spoiling the return of Ashton trams. About to board for Bury is 3060.
Flexity Swift M5000 3060b, now boarding for Bury
Two minutes to go, but trifling compared with the 30 year wait from GMC’s initial plans. Ashton-under-Lyne, along with Eccles and Altrincham now has the Holy Trinity of bus/train/tram interchanging facilities within five minutes walk of each mode.
Ashton West station (southbound)
Ashton West station: a must-visit for football or cricket fans or filmgoers. Immediately north is the cricket ground, with the Tameside Stadium and Richmond Park athletics ground a short walk away.
Flexity Swift M5000 3054b, Ashton West
Here’s 3054 in action about to reach its terminus.
Ashton Moss station (eastbound)
Ashton Moss station. Hardly the most scenic of stations, but soon to be a useful one with its Park and Ride facilities nearby. It is also good for the Ashton Park Garden Centre, the Travelodge hotel and nearby public houses The Sheldon Arms and The Snipe Inn.
Audenshaw station (eastbound)
Audenshaw station: the closest stop to the Snipe Retail Park, though some walk to Argos Extra thereafter. It is also handy for F&S Models, a rather good Chinese chippy I visited in 1996 and Ryecroft Hall.
Tram interior (between Audenshaw and Droylsden)
Throughout the late morning and early afternoon, loadings between Ashton-under-Lyne and Bury were impressive. There was in the words of one staff member ‘thousands of pounds of photographic equipment on each tram’. A fair mix of the passengers were light rail enthusiasts or people about to visit Bury’s excellent market.
Droylsden station
Droylsden station with Flexity Swift M5000 3049 about to depart for Bury.
FlexitySwift M5000 3046b, Bury Interchange
Seventy minutes on from commencing her journey from Ashton-under-Lyne, our tram is ready to begin her southbound journey. Mission accomplished!

*                          *                          *

S.V., 09 October 2013.

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3 thoughts on “In Pictures: Ashton-under-Lyne’s New Trams

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  1. THANK HEAVEN FOR EAST OF THE M60s VIEWS ON ALL OF THIS…

    I smile when I hear that less-well informed professionals are told that AUTIES struggle with new developments…changes to long-time routines.

    Right now – I AM THE ONE quaking in my boots about tram thingies and all of that sort of stuff.

    So we need to remember that the people whom we are taught to believe cannot function socially half as well as the rest of us and who cannot cope with the changes to our basic infrastructure …might well actually be the sorts to bring us along and into the light of 21st cent transport!

    http://www.funnylass.wordpress.com

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    1. Hi Tina,

      I had had been looking forward to the arrival of Ashton’s trams since the start. At least since I received a copy of the Metrolink 2000 leaflet in 1996. I was genuinely irate when Alistair Darling cut off funding for Phase 3 on the 20 July 2004. Also relieved when the tram plans were back on schedule – after a 50,000 name petition – and after the setback of a ‘no’ vote on a referendum in December 2008. Equally relieved when the ConDems made one of their very very few and far between good decisions – of ensuring the continuance of the Phase 3 project and the Second City Crossing (approved this week).

      Though slower than the unbeatable 10 minute journey time from Ashton to Manchester Victoria by rail, it will come into its own in the peak hours, during Manchester City’s matchdays, or whilst Take That or the like are filling the Etihad Stadium.

      As for the autie-friendliness of the Metrolink system, the 6 – 12 minute frequency is sufficient enough for anyone to take time out if the tram’s too packed. For example, you are going to Bury from Ashton and need a rest en route. On a day rover or a Concession Plus pass, you could always break your journey at Heaton Park for a brew, or a short walk, or visit the Tram Museum. Signage is clearly marked; the automatic ticket machines may be less overloading than asking a driver or conductor for a day rover or single fare. Everything is low floor with ramps and lifts at the stations.

      On a personal level, being a massive public transport geek has more than helped me to come to terms with Greater Manchester’s buses, trains and trams. If I didn’t know how to read a timetable in my formative years, nor had the confidence to wander around the Greater Manchester area, I would be a right hermit. Instead, I can be dangerous on a bog standard day rover. And probably truly manic on an All Line Rover. I doubt as if my mother nor my Jack Russell Terrier would approve if I rang home and said ‘Sorry love, I’m on the Inverness Sleeper’ or ‘I’m just nipping to Penzance for some dog chews’.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      P.S. Donna Williams of ‘Nobody Nowhere’ fame used to enjoy riding around on Melbourne’s tram network. Also around the time, age wise or slightly younger, when I used to enjoy travelling around Greater Manchester on a 16-19 Bus Pass.

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