Union Street section on verge of opening
After a series of test runs, the Union Street section of Oldham’s Metrolink line will be open on the 27 January.
Since services began on June 2012, trams have called at a temporary Oldham Mumps station along the former Loop Line. From the 27 January, a new line via Union Street will call at four new stations.
The permanent Oldham Mumps station will be closer to Mumps itself. There will be seamless transfer between tram, bus, taxi and private car. In short, a real improvement on the walk from Rhodes Bank and the footbridge across Oldham Way.
Its next stop, Oldham Central, will offer seamless connections with Union Street Jobcentre Plus, Gallery Oldham, Oldham Central Library, Sainsburys and T.K. Maxx. The Town Square shopping centre is a short walk away. Just off Clegg Street, it is close to the original Oldham Central closed in 1966 by British Railways.
Ideally placed for Oldham Sixth Form College is the King Street stop. Had Metrolink been around thirty years ago with orange and white trams, it would have been ideal for Butterflies and Shopping Giant. Today, passengers from Shaw or Hollinwood bound for Ashton could transfer onto the 409 service.
The final new stop is Westwood, which more or less replaces the former Oldham Werneth station. From King Street, trams will negotiate the Oldham Way roundabout and reach Westwood by means of a stop on the side of Middleton Road. From there, it rejoins the former Loop Line.
From the 18 – 26 January, the Oldham Rochdale line will be closed, with fully timetabled test runs prior to opening. The trackbed between Oldham Mumps and Oldham Werneth will fall into disuse, possibly redeveloped for future retail or industrial uses. (Unless we see plans to reopen the Lees line up to Greenfield, thus restoring Oldham’s heavy rail connection).
S.V., 10 January 2014.