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Tram Trains For Greater Manchester

Is it a train or is it a tram? Actually it's both. But it'll be a while

Published on November 9th 2013.

Tram Trains For Greater Manchester

COUNCILLOR have backed plans to develop a tram-train strategy in Greater Manchester.

“At this point however, tram-train very much remains a long-term project for Greater Manchester, making it difficult to identify potential implementation dates or funding.”

A report outlining proposals for a network of specially-designed vehicles, running on both street tracks and sharing tracks with other trains on railway lines, was approved by members of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee’s Capital Projects and Policy Sub-Committee today.

An initial study into the feasibility, cost and benefits of several potential routes identified Manchester to Marple via Bredbury as the most economically viable route to develop as the region’s first tram-train line.

The other routes that are under consideration as part of a potential tram-train network are:

  • Manchester – Glossop
  • Manchester – Atherton – Wigan
  • Manchester – Sale – Altrincham – Hale/Knutsford
  • Manchester – East Didsbury – Hazel Grove
  • Stockport - Altrincham

A tram-train system would apparently make greater use of Greater Manchester’s local rail network, facilitating more frequent services. It would also provide better and more frequent access to the city centre and better connections with other public transport services.

It is also expected that the ongoing cost of most routes would be more than met by fare revenue, making those services financially self-sustaining.  

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will now look at how the proposals can be taken forward for further development, as part of a long-term transport strategy.

The TfGM Committee Chair, Councillor Andrew Fender, said: “I am delighted that clear progress has been made with the identification of the potential for tram-train in Greater Manchester.

“Track-sharing between heavy and light rail trains with street-running capability is already well established in continental Europe, especially in Germany.

“Not only are there numerous benefits to commuters, such as increased capacity and frequency and better inner-city connectivity, but tram-trains also have the potential to be financially self-sustaining.

“At this point however, tram-train very much remains a long-term project for Greater Manchester, making it difficult to identify potential implementation dates or funding.”

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

rinkydinkNovember 9th 2013.

Should the focus not be on improving what already exists? At the moment the whole network is a rapidly growing, exploding pile of poo

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 11th 2013.

Note the last paragraph!

AnonymousNovember 9th 2013.

It would be nice to see Trams going through Moss Side again!

Ian ChristieNovember 10th 2013.

This is Great News but I'm sorry to see no mention of a possible extension of the Bury line to Rawtenstall via Ramsbottom. Five years ago Jake Berry, Rossendale MP, told me this was being considered and that "discussions are happening between local councillors, East Lancs Railway and GMPTE (now TfGM)". Anyone got any news of this proposal? Would be cool to see smooth sleek trams sharing the line with steam trains!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidNovember 10th 2013.

Unlikely to happen any time soon. The priorities for the next phase of expansion are extensions to Trafford Park and Stockport, and those are a few years off starting.

TonyNovember 12th 2013.

Great News??? Yeah, replacing trains with trams. Such good news!!! Doubling the journey time as has happened with other heavy rail into trams. Yes, all your Birthdays at once

DavidNovember 13th 2013.

Yes transport policy in Greater Manchester is totally geared to serving Manchester and not Greater Manchester.Its time the majority of Greater Manchester started to see some benefit not just the citizens of Manchester.

AnonymousNovember 15th 2013.

Really David. I was in Altrincham last night, and also though there are long standing rail/tram lines to Manchester most bus routes avoid it. Bit them Alti's are car people. There are also I understand trams and trains and trains to Eccles and Ashton and even Rochdale. All of those places have buses to other than Manchester to many parts including the 22 from Bolton to Stockport avoiding most of Manchester.

Kate HarrisonNovember 11th 2013.

To Chester would be good. Current choice for commuting is hideously slow or hideously crowded.

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2013.

I had an incredibly geeky conversation about the detail of this with Cllr Fender last week and its the sort of thing that gets sad transport types like me quite excited! Significant funding needs to be found but I hope we'll see this delivered before we're all off to the retirement home! As for Ian's point, I've never heard that proposal. However I know there is a campaign group up in Ramsbottom campaigning to get mainline services running on the ELR, which would only require a short section of new track to allow services from Rawtenstall to Victoria. I don't think the heritage people were in favour and again there is a cost issue but its something that should be pursued. Anything that makes it easier to get to the Ramsbottom chocolate fair is a good thing!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Ian CNovember 11th 2013.

And ofcourse to get a Sarsaparilla or Dandelion & burdock at Fitzpartrick's Herbal Health bar in Rawtenstall, the UK's only surviving original Temperance bar: en.wikipedia.org/…/Temperance_bar…

TonyNovember 12th 2013.

Mr Peel, I do hope you are not in favour of another Metrolink takeover? Doubling journey times, no conductor, no station staff. Yes Kevin, get out of geek mode and get into reality.

JoanNovember 12th 2013.

Tony. This is very much in the early stages of investigating possibilities. The article says "“Track-sharing between heavy and light rail trains with street-running capability is already well established in continental Europe, especially in Germany" which doesn't sound to me like a Metrolink takeover. Probably a new model of management responsibility would be needed.

AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2014.

It's not geeky cllr, until you start talking about pantographs and traction types...

AnonymousNovember 11th 2013.

So would these tram trains result in additional traffic through what is already a very congested city centre even when the second city crossing is built? Would this not increase the pressure that St Peter's Square, Deansgate-Castlefield and Cornbrook are under at the moment? I know that there are intentions to increase the capacity at the first two mentioned stations but unless something radical is done at Cornbrook either by increasing the length of the platforms or doubling the number of platforms I just don't see how the network could cope. I wonder why the suggestion seems to be to go for the most complex of the routes first assuming that it dives down into the back of Piccadilly or are we about to see the ramp next to the Mayfied Depot be resurrected for this purpose?

AnonymousNovember 12th 2013.

Was this not mooted a few years ago for services between Sheffield and Penistone/Barnsley and nothing has come of it. There needs to be some greater vision regarding transport in this region - Cornbrook and Central Park need to be upgraded to interchange with National Rail stations.

DelNovember 12th 2013.

What about the line to Bromley Cross, Darwen, Blackburn - terrible service, mostly once an hour, short trains, alreays rammed. Crying out for improvement.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidNovember 13th 2013.

Your totally correct. And this should be a priority as this line has huge potential as it continues on to Carlisle and Scotland.However since it does not directly benefit the city of Manchester I doubt it will happen anytime soon. This whole idea that the city of Manchester is the economic driver of the the whole region is being used to justify the vast bulk of transport spending being targeted on Manchester.This is just as unfair as the bias in transport spending on London nationally.

DavidNovember 13th 2013.

The problem with this line is that after Bromley Cross there is only a single track,which means you cannot run more and longer trains.But the demand is there for it and especially a direct connection to the Airport.

Graham LeesJanuary 3rd 2014.

Why has the study not included the Heywood area north of Manchester, which is currently very badly served by bus services to Manchester? Why not a Tram-train service to Heywood, using heavy rail from Manchester Victoria to Castleton Junction, thence the Heywood spur to Green Lane, where it could resume street running as a tram into Heywood Town centre via Green Lane, Rochdale Road East,Rochdale Road and Church Street to the Civic Centre, without too much disruption to other traffic. This would provide a much needed boost to an area that has to rely far too much on private transport to reach Manchester at present.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2014.

'very badly served by bus services to Manchester' You mean, like the 163 every ten min?

AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2014.

Just had to cancel meeting up with a friend, who has moved to a place in Greater Manchester served by train, after spending years a few feet from a tram stop.....She could not join us because her trains are every HOUR for one thing......If had a tram timetabled service on a few GM commuter lines...THAT would be a service to be PROUD OF and would spread the service to MORE local taxpayers...

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