Metrolink Update – December 2017 ….

Posted on December 5th, 2017, by The Chairman

Paul Wilkinson writes ….

Over the last 4 or 5 weeks it is apparent subtle changes have been made to Altrincham services not previously been advertised: More Trams for Metrolink Busiest Lines.

An additional two trams have been added to the Altrincham – Etihad service which means from around 0700 the previous all day single trams to Etihad now have two out of eight trams running as doubles – with the part day Altrincham – Bury directs continuing as all doubles.

The news follows major investment in new electrical substations on the Altrincham and Bury lines at Brooklands and Whitefield to power more double trams. Last year the Bury and Altrincham lines alone carried more than 40% of all customer journeys making them Metrolink’s busiest. Full press release here.

An insider says that spare drivers are also being sent out in peak times to take a tram to Bury or Altrincham and wait for control to tell them to leave. Presumably these fill in any gaps to reduce crowding and help the timetabled services.

When events are held at Old Trafford or Etihad previously the doubles for Bury switched and all Etihad services were doubles and Bury directs became single. This increased capacity in the evenings / Sunday times when the game was on. Now it appears there is no swap and the Etihad service capacity is boosted at end of Match at least.

City were at home Wednesday 29th night and whilst waiting at a Picc Gardens, one single and three consecutive doubles came thru for Altrincham between approx 2215 and 2300. Also during that time was a double to Victoria and a double shown on PiDs as Trafford Bar but actually arriving for East Didsbury! I’ve not seen this destination on football trams before. Single trams continued for Bury and Eccles via Media City.

Due to heavy loading I let the first three go through and caught the third double – only some three minutes behind the previous one at Piccadilly Gardens…. which then had to stand after Brooklands to allow the previous double to clear into the single line after Timperley – it being three minutes behind the previous one at Piccadilly Gardens. It appears that most fans from Etihad want to travel south of the city – to stops on Altrincham, Didsbury or Eccles lines, perhaps due to park and ride sites. There were problems with various trams as doors tried to close and lock due to excessive loads. This was not helped by all the cold weather clothing being worn by passengers!!

I understand changes to the timetable in January 2018 will include later trams on Sunday evenings and trams running in service to / from outer terminals as previously rather than the recent practice of running out of service to Altrincham in the early morning and from Altrincham at close of service.

Please leave a comment

  1. Paul Wilkinson Says:

    Trams leave Altrincham:
    0658 to Etihad (double)
    0710 to Etihad (single)
    0716 to Bury (double)
    0722 to Etihad (double)
    All times approximate as you will be aware they don’t run to a timetable !

    Thus two double trams out of eight on the Etihad service, after another five single trams, the process repeats itself.

  2. Paul Wilkinson Says:

    News emerging that from 28th January both platforms will be in use at Altrincham during the daytime at least.
    Trams will be given a longer time at Altrincham to allow drivers to change ends – said to be 10 mins turn round time.
    This should assist time-keeping, in particular reduce the need to turn late running trams at Timperley
    Altrincham to Etihad service will be cut back to terminate at Piccadilly.

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