Comment

05.06.18

Moving in the right direction

Source: RTM April/May 2018

Alex Cropper, head of projects group at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), reports on the exciting progress so far in building the Trafford Park Line extension as part of the Metrolink network.

This is going to be a big year for Metrolink and its city region. The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has made transport a high priority, and we have an exciting and challenging year to look forward to – especially on the Trafford Park Line.

Since construction started in late 2016, we have been working hard to achieve a number of key project milestones, which I am pleased to say that we have already begun to realise in 2018. With the first piece of track laid in February, it has been heartening to see the hard work paying off, and this is due to our collaborative approach with our delivery partners M-Pact Thales (a consortium of VolkerRail, Laing O’Rourke and Thales), WSP and Trafford Council.

The Trafford Park Line project is part of Greater Manchester’s plan to make travel easier, support local regeneration and drive economic growth. It’s the city region’s first major project to benefit from the groundbreaking devolution deal, signed by Greater Manchester leaders and central government in November 2014.

The devolution deal gave the city region new powers over many areas, including transport, offering control over budgets and more local accountability through an elected mayor. Funding for the £350m Trafford Park Line was secured through the deal under the ‘earnback’ mechanism – which provides funding of up to £900m over 30 years.

Once the line is open, it will be part of a network that spans over 63 miles, operates 120 trams and serves 99 stops, with the aim to acquire 27 new trams in future, taking the total number to 147 – which will improve capacity across the network.

As well as being Europe’s largest trading estate, it is a popular retail and leisure destination which attracts over 30 million people a year, with intu Trafford Centre close by and home to Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium. 

Our work to date has included the laying of approximately 200km of ducts and pipes for electricity, water, gas and telecommunications, which have had to be relocated to make way for the construction of the new tracks and stops (200km is equivalent to the distance from Manchester to Oxford). Collaborative working between the utility companies, using joint utility trenches, and the cooperation of local companies is helping to achieve the planned completion dates.

Another key element of the project is the ongoing redevelopment of the Peel Circle roundabout at intu Trafford Centre to facilitate track work, whilst maintaining a safe route for pedestrians and all road users.

The scheme is now moving into an exciting phase as the development of key structures and multiple track installations start to take shape, and this will become more evident throughout 2018. We are going to be undertaking a range of engineering challenges, such as the Bridgewater Canal crossing and new Pomona Viaduct, a 130m-long four-span viaduct which ties into the existing Pomona Viaduct and will connect the new Trafford Park Line into the existing network.

Marking a milestone

The first piece of track for the Trafford Park Line was laid at Parkway Circle in February. Mayor Andy Burnham, leader of Trafford Council Sean Anstee, and chair of the TfGM Committee Cllr Andrew Fender, alongside other key attendees, witnessed this major milestone.

To see the first piece of track in place is a great indication of the progress being made across the whole programme. With the first piece of track being laid and a major utilities programme also nearing completion, focus will continue on the installation of the track at multiple locations along the route, construction of the new stops, including those at the Trafford Centre and Event City, whilst continuing to reconfigure the highway network to accommodate the tram route and facilitate the delivery of enhanced pedestrian and cycle facilities. In addition, we will also be installing the first platform units at the proposed Village tram stop and completing the Pomona Viaduct abutment installation during spring 2018.

Looking ahead

There are always challenges when delivering projects of this scale, and we are working within very tight constraints as we adapt local roads to keep general traffic moving whilst we construct the new tram infrastructure alongside. By the end of the year we will be able to see some very real progress, with key elements of the line constructed.

We will also continue our engagement work with key stakeholders throughout Trafford Park. This summer will see us extending our exhibition and information events at key destinations, much like last year when we held events at Media City, Imperial War Museum North and intu Trafford Centre. This is an important part of our work and allows us to share information with stakeholders and the public on the progress of the Trafford Park Line extension.

I am looking forward to seeing what 2018 is going to bring for the Trafford Park Line and to really see it continue to take shape as we get closer to opening the line in 2020.

 

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

It's the little things in rail

29/03/2019It's the little things in rail

Dan Lee-Bursnall, commercial director at Incr... more >
Transport Select Committee chair Lilian Greenwood visits KeTech

29/03/2019Transport Select Committee chair Lilian Greenwood visits KeTech

KeTech had the pleasure of welcoming Lilian G... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Year with brand-new infrastructrure to... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

08/04/2019West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

Malcolm Holmes, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Rail Executive, joins us to discuss the 30-year Rail Investment Strategy, and how he and his team are working closely with Midlands Connect to deliver on uplifting capacity and bettering services for people across the region ahead of TCR Midlands 2019. What do your roles as Ex... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

interviews

Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >
Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

20/12/2018Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

In November, the first ever Rail Ombudsman was established in a bid to give passengers a free independent service to allow passengers to claim co... more >