The first tram has crossed Oldham Mumps, ahead of services on the new Metrolink line from Oldham Mumps to Shaw & Crompton potentially starting early in the New Year.
Good progress is being made on the line, as demonstrated by the sight of the first tram crossing Oldham Mumps and travelling to the Derker stop as part of a thorough testing and commissioning process that is now under way.
Oldham councillors have also been invited to view progress on the Derker and Shaw & Crompton stops to see how the new line is shaping up.
Councillor Dave Hibbert, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Planning said: “The sight of trams crossing Mumps is a landmark, not just for this project, but for the wider changing face of Oldham and the regeneration of the town centre.
“It’s great to see the infrastructure for this line now in place. It’s vital now that the right testing takes place to ensure the safety and reliability of the service.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “The progress we’re now making on the extension to Shaw & Crompton and Rochdale Rail Station is positive and welcome and within the timescales we’ve been working to.
“The sight of the first tram crossing Oldham Mumps was an historic moment and a sign of things to come.
“That said, there are still some significant challenges involved, not least a very thorough period of testing and commissioning – and the weather conditions will also be a factor.
“So the work in the coming weeks and months will be crucial to maintain the programme so that people in Derker and Shaw & Crompton can benefit from the arrival of Metrolink early in the New Year.”
TfGM is working towards opening the new line to Shaw & Crompton first, which would not cause any delay to opening to Rochdale Rail Station.
In any event, services to Rochdale Rail Station are expected to open a few months later as further work is still required relating to the control system and commissioning.
Ultimately, all the lines will be controlled by the new tram management system, which is a crucial part of the expansion because it will allow more trams to run on the existing network.
The new system is being integrated onto sections of the existing lines – a complex operation that involves new technology working effectively with the existing outdated system.