Welcome to Trams at Oldham
STORM welcomes the return of rail services to the Oldham line after a gap of over two and a half years, (Transport for Greater Manchester news release 8th June 2012). We are pleased to see that Metrolink will serve new stops at Monsall, Central Park, South Chadderton and Freehold in addition to the former heavy rail stations at Newton Heath & Moston (formerly Dean Lane), Failsworth, Hollinwood and Oldham Mumps. Passengers will be whisked into the City Centre at Market Street, St Peter’s Square and Castlefield and on to Chorlton without changing trams. Other destinations including Piccadilly station, Bury, Altrincham, Media City and Eccles can be reached with only one change at Victoria or St Peter’s Square. Trams will run every 12 minutes from 6am from Mumps but the press release does not give a ‘last tram’ time from Victoria although it may be expected to be later than the train times. Evening and Sunday frequencies will be much better than the former train service. When new light rail lines open in other European countries and in North America it is common practice to allow free travel for the first two or three days to attract new passengers. It would have been encouraging if TfGM had adopted this for the Oldham line. The TfGM press release gives fares on the new system but fails to mention that Concessionary Pass holders can of course travel on Metrolink free after 9.30 am on weekdays and all day at weekends. The TfGM release refers to bus links at Central Park and Shudehill but does not mention any bus connections at Oldham Mumps. This is a serious omission and will be a major detraction to tram users, particularly as pedestrian access at Mumps is very poor and there is no mention of park and ride, except at Hollinwood STORM Chairman Richard Greenwood said "Realising the major catchment areas of Shaw and Saddleworth, STORM looks forward to the early extension of services to Shaw and Derker with provision at Mumps for Park and Ride or at least an adjacent facility for bus passengers as a priority."