Comment

18.11.16

Second City Crossing on its way

Source: RTM Oct/Nov 16

Peter Cushing, Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM’s) Metrolink director, gives RTM an update on the Second City Crossing project.

September saw a major milestone for Greater Manchester Metrolink as we laid the final stretch of track for the new ‘Second City Crossing’. The £165m new line through the heart of Manchester city centre is due to open early next year, and will play a crucial role in allowing Metrolink to run more frequent, reliable and flexible tram services. 

The Metrolink network is now the largest in the UK, spanning nearly 62 miles, calling at some 93 stops and hosting more than 35 million journeys a year. Metrolink’s continuing success, which is now treble its original, made a pressing case for a new line through the city centre. 

The convergence of seven tram lines in the city meant that an additional route would be crucial to offer more capacity and allow the network to achieve its full potential. Metrolink expansion contractor M-Pact Thales (MPT) began work on the new line in early 2014. 

Of course, before we could lay any tram track, major utilities had to be upgraded, from water and sewage pipes to telephone and electricity lines. Collectively United Utilities, Electricity North West, National Grid and Openreach laid more than 61,000 metres of new sewer, cable, duct or mains – that’s longer than the M60 motorway or 500+ football pitches. 

New-look stops 

The Second City Crossing package has also included major expansions of several current city centre stops to allow them to handle more services. New-look stops at Deansgate-Castlefield, Victoria Station and Market Street were recently joined by a brand new expanded stop in St Peter’s Square, which opened in August. 

Thanks to a grant from the European Regional Development Fund, we opened the first phase of the Second City Crossing, from Victoria Station through to a new stop at Exchange Square, in December 2015. 

Demanding work 

Construction work on the new line itself has, at times, been demanding. Building a 21st century transport system in a predominantly Victorian city has thrown up some unexpected challenges. While building along the route and in St Peter’s Square we’ve coped with a collapsed Victorian sewer, discovered a former cemetery and engineered the line over a former church crypt. 

Working with archaeologists, careful excavation work on Cross Street revealed double the number of anticipated exhumations, as remains in a Victorian cemetery were sensitively reinterred elsewhere. Further along the line in St Peter’s Square, the need to build a tram line over the old St Peter’s Church Crypt posed a special challenge for engineers. The church was demolished and built over in 1907 and the crypt had lain undisturbed for over a century. Working with archaeologists to first record and preserve what was found in the crypt, we’ve specially reinforced the crypt walls to make sure they can withstand the weight of overhead trams. 

Despite these challenges, MPT has worked closely with utility companies and TfGM to ensure the line is on track to be finished in early 2017, through collaborative management and mitigation of the construction work. 

All major civil engineering works – including installing overhead lines to power the trams along the route – are expected to be completed by the end of the year. It means the city will be free of Metrolink construction work in time for the busy festive period, when Christmas markets attract millions of visitors to the city. A thorough testing and commissioning programme will resume in early 2017 before the first passenger services can launch. 

The scale of the venture has been impressive and the new line will mean we can continue supporting the demand to travel from workers, residents and visitors to our ever-growing city – connecting people with jobs, days out, family and friends. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

W: www.transformationinformation.co.uk

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

 

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   23/11/2016 at 23:24

Further extensions that is planned for Metrolink that is to get the go ahead would be the extended to Port Salford, Stockport and Manchester Airport via Wythenshawe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_Metrolink https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafford_Park_Line

Tram Watcher   29/11/2016 at 16:59

Airport line already in service Andrew

Andrew Gwilt   29/11/2016 at 23:49

In that case. Thanks.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

The next generation of rail infrastructure

11/09/2019The next generation of rail infrastructure

How the rail industry delivers the next gener... more >
Putting passengers first

11/09/2019Putting passengers first

How does the rail industry design the railway... 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

Network Rail’s, Anna-Jane Hunter on HS2, NPR, and supply chain opportunities

29/08/2019Network Rail’s, Anna-Jane Hunter on HS2, NPR, and supply chain opportunities

Anna- Jane Hunter, is a ‘proud northerner’ and is passionate about continuing the investment and the success story of rail across the North.  She plays a key role in working with government and northern leaders to enable the network to carry on thriving. We caught up with Anna-Jane, for her expertise and insight into conn... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in ... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
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 >