First public trains are due to run over a brand new railway in Manchester starting Sunday 10th December – and they will be Calder Valley Line services from Leeds via Halifax and Rochdale, operated by Northern. The Ordsall Chord will link lines through Manchester Victoria station with the ones through Deansgate, Oxford Road, Piccadilly and towards the Airport. From this month Calder Valley trains will run through, daytime off-peak only for now, to Oxford Road station. This is a prelude to a full hourly service to Manchester Piccadilly and the Airport in May 2018. First train scheduled over the new curve on the Sunday morning should be an 0840 local working from Manchester Victoria station to Oxford Road. This returns at 0857 to Calder Valley stations and Leeds. First westbound Sunday service from Calderdale is scheduled 0945 from Halifax through to Oxford Road. Hopefully there’ll be one or two HADRAG members on these first trains to mark the historic occasion – we are keeping an eye on the forecast as wintry weather threatens.
Weekday services will be the ones that leave Leeds around 18 minutes past the hour. The first Oxford Road weekday service will be the one that picks up at Halifax at 0756, after which they’ll be more or less hourly until late afternoon. Hopefully this is a taste of a much more useful service to come. From May 2018 Calder Valley Manchester trains should run not only round Ordsall to Manchester Piccadilly and the Airport but there will also be an hourly service to Warrington and Chester.