Victoria Metrolink

TfGM signals support for Middleton Metrolink extension

Plans to connect Middleton with the existing Bury Metrolink line have been given a boost after Transport for Greater Manchester signalled it “made economic sense” to connect the town to the wider network.

Rochdale Council has lobbied TfGM to support the plans, which are at an early stage but include a major park-and-ride scheme to alleviate commuter traffic and to increase Middleton’s connectivity to central Manchester.

Middleton is one of three key Greater Manchester towns, along with Heywood and Leigh, which are not served by either rail or tram lines. The corridor around Middleton is also one of the largest gaps in the region’s rapid transit network.

Middleton’s nearest railway station is at Mills Hill, within the borough of Oldham, while the rest of the town and its centre are not served by a railway line. Bus services to the town have also been cut.

After TfGM signalled its initial support for the line, proposals will now be drawn up for a fully-costed feasibility study and business case to present to Greater Manchester’s political leaders.

Leader of Rochdale Council, Cllr Allen Brett, said if the project does not go ahead it would risk leaving Middleton “an economic oxbow lake”.

“Middleton is a pretty well-populated area full of wonderfully talented people, who are, sadly, not currently served well with public transport options. Neither are the many great businesses there or the colleges and their students, and the town centre.

“That is why I am pressing to create this vital link between the town and the tram network. I was pleased that we were able to persuade TfGM that this made sense and I hope that the plan will finally receive the backing that it needs to become a reality.”

A funding bid was submitted by TfGM earlier this year to extend the Metrolink’s Airport line, which will potentially add an extra stop at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2.

The bid was submitted in February this year but the Department for Transport is yet to make a decision.

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Middleton “an economic oxbow lake”. Partridgesque. Brilliant

By Lynn Benfield

Indeed, it is a ‘ lacuna’ of public transport

By Prof. Paul Calf

How about predestrianising Middleton?

By Jed Maxwell

It’a about time that Middleton was given some recognition as a town of significance. It has been in Rochdale’a shadow for too long.

By A Cynical

Middleton and Heywood must not be isolated we have to come in to the fold sooner the better

By Richard Towers

Oh look the South East of Greater Manchester ignored again, what about Stockport and the parts of Tameside that aren’t Ashton…?

By Aevis

“It has been in Rochdale’a shadow for too long.”

Christ almighty, that’s really saying something. Something bad.

By Sten

Why go to Middleton, it will be another problem line. Metrolink and TFGM cannot control the trouble on the Rochdale line adding Middleton will just cause more trouble. No offence to the people of Middleton …… but

By Brian S

Oh look the South East of Greater Manchester ignored again, what about Stockport and the parts of Tameside that aren’t Ashton…? By Aevis

I bet you are referring to Stalybridge…. No point in the Metrolink carrying on to Stalybridge there is a train service and a bus service. Mind you if they carry the line on to Stalybridge the kids who cause trouble on the tram might keep out of Ashton and go to Stalybridge instead.

By Brian S

Is it really more important to link Middleton before Stockport and Bolton? I know that they have stations but linking Bolton with Bury and Stockport with South Manchester surely should be a priority. The huge fault of this system is that everywhere is linked to Central Manchester and the satellite towns are not connected to each other. It is like having a motorway with one junction on it serving 10 destinations.

By Elephant

Rochdale’s shadow…I’m laughing…but…crying, too.

By Lloyd Hitchmough

So Stockport is on the shelf again?.Stockport may have a good transport system,but it is a congested transport system,the roads are busy,whichever route you use in/out of Manchester, trains are often crowded,car parking is an expense,most people want to reduce, or not pay at all..Businesses have moved to the town..yet Metrolink, thinks, the Trafford Centre,and now Middleton is a bigger priority..Wake up Metrolink,your almost into Stockport,the largest populated town in Sth Manchester, as you have reached East Didsbury..get some surveying done, and plan a route,into the town..and where possible,away from the main road,to alleviate delays, with trams fighting for space, with road users..


I also agree with By Elephant, what we need is routes to serve towns directly(which lost its rail services)which are not routes to Manchester.Stockport-Marple is a very congested route by road,and a tram service,between those towns would be a big improvement,but Marple was talked about having Metrolink, where to?.why Manchester of course,but if I wanted to go to Marple,it takes 35-40 mins,by road,and up to an hour in the rush hour..The rail service up to 1967,took only 12-14 mins..the tram would probably take,around 20 mins,at all times..a direct Metrolink route to the Airport, is something else Stockport needs desperately,this would avoid going via Manchester on the train, or back on the congested roads..Metrolink,you are missing out on a very lucrative market in the transport of Greater omitting Stockport..asnd when it does arrive,it needs to serve the centre,not just where the bus station is,it needs to go to the Peel Centre,plenty of room for an island platform, to terminate trams..because more people will be more likely,to leave their car at home, and use the tram..


Shouldn’t it be a question of all of the above? Middleton – Bowker vale, Stockport – Marple.
We should also extend the Eccles line to Leigh at least preferably Abram, it could go under walkden station creating a new interchange on a converted tram train line.
Bolton- Bury – Rochdale. I mean can you imagine the three largest towns in any south east county not being connected directly by a train or tram line or both?
So let’s stop arguing with each other and demand from central government that we can all can get on the system. I would include Heywood for instance.
Where the money going to come from?
They found it for Croyden’s Tramllink – but there again that’s in the south-east.

By Boltontopcat

The fact that Bolton and Bury are not linked by a train shows how important we are to Westminster governments of all colours. A combined population of about 450 thousand people having to either drive between the two or use buses which take ages. Andy Burnham’s solution is walking and cycling. Good luck selling that Mr.Mayor when they start building Crossrail 2.

By Elephant

“A Cynical” absolutely spot on, Satanic shadows come to mind.


Unfortunately the Radcliffe to Bolton trackbed has houses built on it

By Dunk

That’s true there is an estate at Bradley Fold on the old Radcliffe line but there’s no need to slavishly follow every inch of the old track bed. You could go round those houses and serve that community as well. Some of the demographics have changed since any way. You would need to alter the route slightly to properly include Little Lever and Breightmet.
Alternatively you could CPO the houses and knock them down.
I much prefer the former as it’s far more sensible.
A few houses in the way did not them building Tramlink in Croydon. I don’t think it will stop them building cross rail 2 either.
It will be necessary to overcome these problems for the other lines suggested above too.

By Boltontopcat

All of Greater Manchester should not be isolated. Public transport should be used and not be cut and private cars should be abolished.

By Anonymous

If you want a stop at North Manchester General back ,you would have to diverge just north of the former Woodlands Road stop and cut round the back of Abraham Moss playing fields .The terrain is hilly, needing cuttings and bridges .Then you would face years of disruption on the main road into MCR.

By Duncan F.

Middleton should be a priority before the likes of Stockport or Stalybridge, the latter two already have trains serving them along with buses, where`s Middleton only has buses, all towns should have a minimum of two types of public transport.

By Anonymous