OLDHAM and Rochdale council leaders have urged transport bosses to reconsider a direct tram link between the two towns and Piccadilly station, after a move to secure the Piccadilly link failed at a recent meeting with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
It is simply not possible to run every service direct to every location
The Oldham-Rochdale Metrolink line is now the only branch of the network without an uninterrupted link to Manchester’s largest rail station, with passengers currently forced to alight in the city centre and catch the Bury line to Piccadilly.
However, Jean Stretton and Richard Farnell, the respective leaders of Oldham and Rochdale councils, believe original Metrolink plans envisaged direct links to both Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly.
“It cannot be right that the Oldham-Rochdale line will be the only branch of the network without that link to the Greater Manchester transport hub with the most important strategic links to London and beyond,” said Stretton.
“The justification we’ve been given is based on the current levels of demand on the line. But that takes absolutely no account of future growth and – by denying us that extension – actually reduces the prospects of that future growth happening.”
“Oldham and Rochdale deserve the same opportunities to thrive as everyone else – nothing more, nothing less.”
Rochdale and Oldham council leaders want direct link to Piccadilly
However, Metrolink Director Peter Cushing has responded by stating that “it is simply not possible to run every service direct to every location”, and that direct access to Piccadilly from the towns requires “just a single – and quick – change of tram”.
“Introducing a direct service from Oldham to Piccadilly Rail Station would require established services from Altrincham, Bury or MediaCityUK to be displaced, which would affect thousands of existing journeys,” said Cushing.
Crunch talks between Stretton, Farnell, Chair of the TfGM committee, Andrew Fender, and Greater Manchester’s interim mayor, Tony Lloyd, are now set to take place.