THE NEWEST Manchester Metrolink line opened without ceremony at 06.00 this morning, having been delayed by computer problems.
The route through Chorlton is the first section of a longer line which will reach Didsbury from 2013.
It had been hoped to open the line before the end of June. However, a new tram control system not only failed to work, but also crashed the existing system, leaving trams stranded in a queue at Piccadilly Gardens for a while at the start of last week.
The problems have now been solved, and trams are running every 12 minutes.
The journey time from St Werburgh’s Road to St Peter’s Square is approximately 15 minutes.
Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce the start of services on the Chorlton line.
“It is both an historic occasion and a sign of the exciting future in store for the network, as we continue our £1.4 billion expansion – the single biggest investment in public transport outside of London.
“Residents and businesses have been eagerly awaiting this news and I would like to thank them for their patience, understanding and continued support while we completed the essential testing and commissioning.
“I would also pass on my thanks and appreciation to all of our existing Metrolink passengers. Investment on this scale is bound to cause some disruption somewhere and I want to thank them for their patience too.”
The new line forms part of a £1.4 billion investment in Metrolink, which will provide new lines and new trams for a network that will be three times the size it is now.
Further lines are being built through Oldham and on to Rochdale, to Ashton-under-Lyne via Droylsden, from the Chorlton line to East Didsbury, and to Manchester Airport via Wythenshawe. A second line across the city centre is also being developed.