Oldham and Rochdale Councils have secured talks about a direct tram link to Manchester Piccadilly station.
The Oldham-Rochdale line is now the only branch of the regional Metrolink network without an uninterrupted link to Manchester’s key station.
Jean Stretton and Richard Farnell, the respective leaders of Oldham and Rochdale Councils, say trams on the line should go direct to Piccadilly as they believe was originally envisaged.
After a move to secure the Piccadilly link failed at a recent meeting of Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) the matter was again raised at last week’s meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).
Talks are now set to take place between both Cllrs Stretton and Farnell with Tony Lloyd, Interim Mayor, and Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM committee.
Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “We’re very disappointed there are no plans to deliver the long-awaited direct connection to Piccadilly on the Oldham-Rochdale line.”
“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.
“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.
“Our understanding was that the original plan would ensure that our line would have direct access to both Manchester Victoria and Piccadilly railway stations.
“Transport connections are key to our future growth prospects and ensuring that all our residents and businesses – and those seeking to invest or come to live here in the future – simply get a level playing field in terms of their access to opportunities.
“We are constructive and positive partners in Greater Manchester. As councils we’re investing in our boroughs through physical works and social regeneration. We are asking for that to be supported and look forward to our discussions with Tony Lloyd and Andrew Fender.
“Oldham and Rochdale deserve the same opportunities to thrive as everyone else – nothing more, nothing less.”