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Tram Life: News From The Met

Second City Crossing Approved, Ashton Link Opens, Oldham Tested And Metrolink Wins

Published on October 8th 2013.

Tram Life: News From The Met

Second City Crossing

LOTS of tram news.

Powers to install a second Metrolink route through the heart of Manchester city centre have been approved by the Government.

The route – through St Peter’s Square, along Princess Street, Cross Street and Corporation Street and re-joining the existing Metrolink line just outside Victoria station – was the subject of a major consultation in 2011 and a public inquiry earlier this year.

The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, has now approved Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) application for the Transport and Works Act Order required to build and operate the new line.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, has also approved several associated Listed Building consents.

The decision means TfGM can now finalise arrangements for delivering the scheme, which will see a new, larger tram stop in St Peter’s Square and a new stop in Exchange Square, one of the city’s main retail and leisure areas.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “This is fantastic news and means we can now press ahead with developing the detail of the delivery programme, appointing a contractor and getting work started as soon as possible.

“By providing the necessary capacity, flexibility and reliability for the future tram network to operate, the second city crossing will play a vital role in helping to build a strong and prosperous economy for Greater Manchester.

“It’s an essential part of the expansion programme which also complements the city’s redevelopment of St Peter’s Square – so this really is excellent news.”

Landscape image of Second Crossing Route

Landscape image of Second Crossing Route

Ashton Metrolink Line Opens Early, Oldham Link Tested

The first Metrolink passenger service from Ashton-under-Lyne will depart at 5.59am on Wednesday  – several months ahead of schedule.

The launch to Ashton will add four new stops to the East Manchester line: Audenshaw, Ashton Moss, Ashton West and Ashton-under-Lyne.

Park and ride facilities at Ashton Moss (200 spaces) and Ashton West (194 spaces, shared with users of the Ashton Moss Leisure Park) will also open and will be free to use for Metrolink passengers.

Tram journeys from Ashton to Piccadilly will take a little over 30 minutes.


The first overnight tram tests are set to take place on the new Oldham town centre Metrolink extension, between Westwood Business Park and Oldham Mumps.

This week trams will run on the line overnight under a police escort. Some road junctions will be restricted for very short periods of time and noise will be kept to a minimum.

Daytime tram tests will follow, but during the testing period the tram service is not open to the public.

Passenger services will open on the Oldham town centre extension next year with four new stops at Westwood, Oldham King Street, Oldham Central and Oldham Mumps which will also have a major new Metrolink park and ride.

Metrolink Wins Awards

The achievements of Metrolink and its partners have been recognised and rewarded at the international Light Rail Awards – this year’s hot awards ticket of course. .

The Metrolink expansion was named UK Project of the Year, with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), MRDL and MPT rewarded for three joint entries – the East Manchester line to Droylsden, the East Didsbury line and the Oldham-Rochdale line.

MPT, the project’s principal contractor, was also awarded Supplier of the Year.

RATP won the Operator of the Year award for their global light rail operations, including Metrolink – which they operate as MRDL. This may surprise some readers.

Bombardier, which supplies Metrolink’s M5000 trams, won the award for Manufacturer of the Year and was highly commended as Supplier of the Year.

TfGM and MPT were highly commended for Best Environmental Initiative for their overall environmental commitment on the Metrolink expansion project, including the crossing of the Mersey Valley as part of the new line to Manchester Airport.

The Metrolink Tram Pro network simulator (delivered by TfGM, MRDL and Ian Rowe Associates) was also highly commended in the Innovation of the Year category for significantly reducing the time needed for driver training on the network’s new lines.

Talented individuals were also recognised.

Louise Poole, TfGM’s Passenger Service Development Manager, was highly commended in the Rising Star category for her excellent work with frontline teams, which has seen a drop in complaints and a rise in positive comments from passengers.

Rachel Schonewald, Metrolink’s Change Controller, was also shortlisted in the Rising Star category with the award going to Gary Scanlon, MRDL’s Operations Expansion Manager, who works on the Metrolink network simulator and driver training programme.

Liz West, Communications Manager on the Metrolink expansion, was also shortlisted in the category of Employee of the Year, with the judges praising her commitment and dedication to Metrolink and to our customers and stakeholders.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Jackie HuntleyOctober 8th 2013.

They should have won an award for charging the highest prices whilst at the same time supplying the most unreliable service - and as for communication - they hardly ever manage to tell you what the reason for the latest delay is - perhaps they have run out of new excuses!

Jess MatthewmanOctober 8th 2013.

It's very well opening early, but you actually have to run the tram service as advertised.

Peter JacobsOctober 8th 2013.

All in favour of a second city route. Just still not sure about that one.

rinkydinkOctober 8th 2013.

The current service is a joke. A new line is needed around the Cornbrook area to circumvent the daily points failures

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 8th 2013.

Sounds like a plan - down the middle of Chester Road or amphibious trams on the canal?

Ghostly TomOctober 13th 2013.

It should have gone along Deasgate and then along Chester Road to be of any use. The proposed one is too close to the old route and doesn't address the problems on the line between St Peter's Sq and Cornbrook which seemed to have lots of problems in the heat of summer leaving this poster stuck in a sweltering tram on several occasions. Plus sending trams along Deansgate could have allowed it to be tree lined and pedestrianised turning it into a Manchester version of Las Ramblas. Opportunity to solve the problem and give Manchester a great asset has been missed here.

Penny CloustonOctober 21st 2013.

I'm glad to see that the second city crossing has received approval to go ahead but as previous commenters have mentioned there is definitely a major issue when it comes to transport between St Peter's Square and Cornbrook. I'm convinced tht seeing Cornbrook could be considered built on a bridge that it does have its very own troll who enjoys playing with the points and signalling and that TfGM need to call in the Billy Goats Gruff to go sort it out. I notice that the Liverpool Castlefield exit in the car park from Deansgate-Castlefield stop has now been shut so that improvement works to the station can occur but as to what these improvements are is beyond me as it has not been publicised. Could it be two additional platforms so that it mirrors St Peters Square which would then leave only Cornbrook as the most congested stop on the network due to it's lack of platforms? I have somewhat sceptical over the awards that MRDL have been awarded. I note RATP have received awards as a business so they must be operating the systems well elsewhere. Could the drop in complaints to TfGM be down to the fact that the customers have lower expectations and have got used to the levels of service including the disasters that happened over summer with the big events. As to what a Change Controller at Metrolink does is beyond me. If Metrolink (MRDL) really want to be winning awards that the customer sees easily then maybe they should communicate with the public better using the numerous formats available to them (a tweet of "..." or just showing a web address to their website is not using twitter to its full potential). If anything there seems to be better (but not comprehensive) tweets coming out of TfGM but this is only manned between 9-5 Monday to Friday when most people are at work. Maybe it's not included in the service agreement for Metrolink to tweet but then again why even bother with having a twitter account if they never respond to queries or is it purely for monitoring the level of customer dissatisfaction. I must say at this point that @metrolink is actually a transport service in California who I now follow so I can see their courteous apologies to those ranting in their direction about Manchester public transport and redirecting them to the correct twitter account. Well done on the awards but so much more can be done.

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