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Reporter: by JANICE BARKER
Date online: 13 May 2009

Union Street U-turn for Metrolink

Another day, another historic decision for Oldham’s tram service as Greater Manchester council leaders finally agreed to run Metrolink into the heart of Oldham.

The good news was brokered after four days of intense behind-the-scenes talks by council leader Howard Sykes, chief executive Charlie Parker and transport spokesman, Councillor Richard Knowles.

Councillor Sykes today hailed the “historic” agreement for the £84 million scheme, the centrepiece of the borough’s regeneration plans.

On Friday, the project was placed bottom of priorities in a report to leaders of all 10 Greater Manchester authorities, and the town centre line looked doomed.

But Councillor Sykes said that for the first time in its history, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities’ executive adjourned that meeting without a decision and reconvened yesterday.

He said: “We have looked at different ways of funding things which has put town centre trams back on the list.

“It involved myself and the nine leaders of local councils, and parallel talks among chief executives by Charlie Parker.

“Sometimes more things are achieved behind the scenes than by grandstanding.”

Work has already been approved to run trams on Oldham’s existing rail line, but missing out the town centre.

Now they will run down Union Street — funded by £84 million from top slicing the region’s Local Transport Plan money and ring-fencing cash from the levy that all councils pay for public transport.

Councillor Sykes added: “To finally get trams running down Union Street is simply fantastic news for this borough. This has the potential to transform Oldham into an aspirational 21st century town and send out the message that we are open for business.”

Councillor Knowles, chairman of the Greater Manchester development committee responsible for Metrolink, said: “I am thrilled to bits. I will be on the first tram to run through Oldham.”

Oldham’s Tory leader, Councillor Jack Hulme, said: “For the last two years Oldham Conservatives have campaigned to have Metrolink brought in its entirety to Oldham via the town centre, but without the imposition of a congestion charge.

“Today’s news represents an enormous step forward and we will play our part in whatever is necessary to bring about this transformation.”


Wonderful! Everyone wants to take a detour past a load of closed shops while on their way to work! The train used to take less than 15 minutes to get to Manchester the metro will now take about 40 minutes and cost twice as much. I for one will now be switching to the bus, which will be faster, has seats, and costs a whole heap less and doesn't break down as often. The Metro is a waste of government money!

How long will it take to get to Manchester on this Union Street tram? Longer than the 13 minutes it takes on the express train now, I'll bet

Always assuming this amazing U-turn is correct - two days is a long time in transport politics - we'd better intercept the tumbleweed I spoke about on Monday. Get ready for plenty of grit though. And that's just from the gritting of teeth at the upheaval, disruption and chaos caused by this unnecessary and idiotic re-introduction of trams some 63 years after they were banished from our streets. Tumbleweed might be preferable.

Brilliant, at last there is some good news for oldham!!

now less talk and more action, try getting on with job!!


more wasted taxpayers money on a scheme that will take peolpe out of oldham, lets face it the parking killed off yorkshire st - well not for taxis

this is a sad day! we already have money that is already being wasted removing a perfectly good railway line and replacing it with a more expensive lower capacity alternative.
now we find out that money will be wasted putting it through the centre too!
at least the land where the old line is will be freed up to make OMBC more money selling it off!

Great news for the town,its all very well people comparing the length of time it will take to get to Manchester compared to the present train journey,what they fail to mention is that the problem over the years has been the location of Mumps station,its isolation and the subway dangers especially at night.Having the Trams in the town centre with easy and safe access is a big bonus for everyone.

I never knew Union Street was the town centre!

Great! You can now take a tram to Oldham town centre. What for? Who would want to go there?

do oldham need metrolink running in town centre plus nobody will catch the tram from rochdale to manchester via town centre it will take longest


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