PASSENGERS on a Bury-bound Metrolink tram were left bemused when the vehicle got on the wrong track and went to Monsall.
Dozens of people boarded the rush-hour service in Manchester city centre last Wednesday evening at Victoria Station.
But rather than heading towards Bury as expected, the carriages instead went towards Rochdale.
Eventually a member of staff announced on the PA system that a points problem was to blame. She asked all passengers to get off at Monsall, cross the platform and board another service back to Manchester, where they could get on another Bury-bound tram at Shudehill.
“It was an absolute joke,” said Philip Martin, aged 45, of Heywood Road, Prestwich.
The chartered surveyor said: “It put the best part of an hour onto my journey home after a long day at work.”
But some passengers spotted in a flaw in the “points failure” explanation.
Julian Cosky, aged 46, of Whitefield, said: “If that was the case, why were we able to get back into the city centre without any problems?”
Mr Cosky’s theory was that the driver had keyed in the wrong route code, sending the tram the wrong way.
Metrolink later confirmed it was, indeed, driver error. The spokesman added: “Unfortunately, one of the Bury trams was directed to Rochdale following a driver error.
“The control room responded quickly to the situation by ensuring a tram was waiting at Monsall to collect the passengers and take them to Shudehill, where a Bury tram was waiting for them.
“We apologised to passengers on-board for the inconvenience caused.”
Mr Martin said: “In fairness, they did make amends by having the other two trams waiting for us, but everyone was a bit fed-up at what was a schoolboy error.
“It’s the first time anything like this has happened to me. The trams are usually good value for money in my experience.”