Not that long ago, upon the opening of the Ashton extension and the completion of the East Manchester Line, I went ‘treking’ around the Metrolink network. And that’s what I did again yesterday (Fri 15th Nov). I’ve not posted anything since last time, something I knew I said I’d try and improve upon, but time flies!
My 10 hour day started with a bus ride into Ashton, then a short walk to the tram stop. I briskly paid and got my ticket. Which, to be honest, could’ve been got rid of. I was never asked for my ticket all day! Some chap on the first machine seemed to be in a bit of bother, so I helped him. He wanted a ticket to Bury, and I didn’t quite catch what problem he was having. I think it was because the screen didn’t recognise his finger. That was my first good deed of the day.
Then the tram arrived, and whisked us off towards Bury. I alighted at Piccadilly, had a bit of a browse of the train station – which I’d never been to – and then returned to the depth of the tram stop to go to Cornbrook.
Ah, Cornbrook. The bane of everyone these days. Now, might of you might of said ‘why the hell are you wanting to go to Cornbook?!’, there was a good reason. And that being it’s a good spot for any discerning tram and train spotter.
My aim for the day was to photograph purely T68′s and T68A’s. Which, I shall add, the latter of which produce a beautiful sound when getting up to speed. Fortunately, there wasn’t any ‘signalling problems’ while I was there, and I was there for like 3 hours. More than any regular commuter.
I don’t see where these problems are coming from. The Cornbrook junction is line of sight based, and only has 2 tracks outbound (from City towards East Didsbury/Altrincham and Eccles/MediaCity) and 2 tracks inbound (from East Didsbury/Altrincham and Eccles/MediaCity towards City). In that respect, it’s not more complicated than the Market Street, Piccadilly Gardens and St Peter’s Square ‘triangle’. If anything, the triangle is more complicated than Cornbrook.
TMS on the T68′s was working perfectly, and faultlessly. Surprisingly, there was a minor delay of about a minute in the triangle on our M5000 because we arrived a bit late for the traffic lights and the driver forgot to TRTS.
At Cornbook, I met a spotter, who had just spent the previous day up in Scotland spotting the Edinburgh trains, I didn’t quite catch his name but he was on the look out for the new trams – which are running without ATS, the Poppy tram, and the trams with special name badges. He was also spotting the trains on the train line next to Cornbrook.
After my time at Cornbrook, I decided to pop to Eccles. Returned from Eccles, went to the triangle, and then to Victoria. I still didn’t go to East Didsbury or Rochdale, nor MediaCity.
I then had a quick walk around the Markets, then walked to Piccadilly to go back to Ashton and meet someone. Then went home.
I’m wanting to go back and do it all again, but not focus so much on taking pictures, but becoming a bit of an anorak and spotting. However, I do fancy sometime to make a bit of a The Railway-esque type documentary, but I guess that’s up for TfGM and MRDL to allow!
The photos are below. As you can see, I gave up towards the end and lifted my ban on M5000′s. What a horrible sight they are. The uglyness hurts my eyes. They even sound boring! An utter waste of money.