Posted by Tony Flynn on 9th May 2012 at 03:06 PM
Metrolink services resumed in Eccles
Metrolink engineers have restored limited tram services on the Altrincham and Eccles lines after cable thieves targeted the network at Cornbrook overnight.
Fibre optic cables – which are of minimal scrap value – were badly damaged, affecting PA systems, signals and substation controls, which meant no trams could run on the Altrincham and Eccles lines until shortly before 9.30am.
As a result of the damage, no announcements could be made on either line, but stops were staffed to support passengers and replacement shuttle buses were put in place.
Metrolink tickets were also accepted on some commercial bus services to help passengers make their journeys this morning.
The Cornbrook stop became a crime scene for a time as police investigated the incident, which took place in the early hours, and expert technicians have been called in to carry out specialist repairs to the cables.
A limited service on both lines was restored as quickly as possible and engineers have been working on further emergency repairs throughout the day with the aim of restoring full services across the network in time for the evening peak.
Metrolink director Philip Purdy said: “I’m really sorry to any of our passengers affected by this today and I’d like to thank them for their patience while we dealt with it. I know it must have been a very frustrating start to the day for them and we’re doing our best to address this for their journey home.
“We are now working to restore full services in time for the evening peak. As the damaged cables are connected to the substations that power the network, engineers will be on site this afternoon and into the evening to manage any issues that arise.
“The people who carry out this type of crime clearly have no thought for others – or indeed their own personal safety. Trackside is a dangerous environment for anyone other than properly trained professionals.”
Full repairs will be carried out as soon as possible but while the PA system on the Eccles line has now been restored, the system on the Altrincham line is not expected to be operating again until the start of service on Thursday.
Security measures to protect cables and prevent vandalism are in place to limit this kind of disruption and Metrolink and TfGM also work with Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Alloy as part of its wider action to combat cable theft.
Philip added: “We lost the public address system too so we put extra staff out on the stops affected as soon as we could to keep passengers informed, as well as updates on the Metrolink website and Twitter.
“This has been an incredibly frustrating episode and we will be working closely with Greater Manchester Police to hold the individuals responsible to account and, through Operation Alloy, to look at what more can be done to tackle the widespread problem of cable theft.”
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