Metrolink trams prior to the opening of the Ashton-under-Lyne Metrolink service
Today I want to use my blog to put to bed an issue that has been the subject of a number of inaccurate rumours. That is, the naming of the new Tameside interchange in Ashton-Under-Lyne.
Normally, when the truth is revealed, all the falsehoods and scare stories surrounding a particular issue die away and everybody simply moves on. Sadly, that has not been the case on this matter.
In the Summer of 2014, Tameside Council were successful in being awarded £33m for the redevelopment of the transport hub in Ashton-Under-Lyne to provide better connections between buses, trains, trams and taxis.
First of all, I need to say how delighted I and other members of this Council were at this significant cash injection. £33m of external funding to support our existing Vision Tameside redevelopment plans is not to be sniffed at!
I also need to say what a fantastic development the new Tameside Interchange will be. The artist impressions point to a much more pleasant place to sit and wait than the current station, which is more a series of dark corridors that a transport facility. The covered walkway between the bus terminal and Metrolink stop, which was extended in response to resident feedback, will ensure that public transport users can stay dry whilst moving between different modes of transport. The project will also free up a good sized plot of land in our town centre for re-development.
And now we come to the name.
When the work is completed, Ashton-Under-Lyne will be the only place in Tameside where the three modes of transport, Tram, Train and Bus, converge. For thousands who arrive in our Borough via public transport, it will be their first port of call before changing to another mode of transport to continue their journey.
Given that the new facility will be something that provides connectivity and economic benefits to the whole of Tameside and Greater Manchester, Council believed that this should be reflected in the naming.
Ashton-Under-Lyne bus station, will still exist.
Ashton-Under-Lyne Metrolink stop, will still exist.
And Ashton-Under-Lyne Railway Station, will still exist.
I’ve heard some strange stories over the last few weeks, such as the suggestion that Ashton will be deleted from online travel planning tools and users that want to plan a journey to the town will have to state ‘Tameside’ in the search bar instead. Or my favourite, that Hyde and Stalybridge bus stations will be renamed ‘Interchange 2’ and ‘Interchange 3’ respectively.
I can categorically say here and now, that neither of these stories are true.
I hope that this blog can finally set the record straight and we can all celebrate the fantastic achievement of securing £33m of funding for our Borough’s transport infrastructure.