HS2

07.12.15

New Metrolink stop opens as the first step in Second City Crossing

Manchester’s expanding light rail network, Metrolink, gained an extra stop at the weekend with the start of services into Exchange Square, a busy shopping district in the city centre.

The opening of the new stop also marks the first tangible improvements for passengers of the Second City Crossing, which will run from St Peter’s Square along Princess Street, Cross Street and Corporation Street before re-joining the existing Metrolink line outside Victoria station.

Construction work kicked off in summer 2014 on the 0.6km stretch between Victoria station and Exchange Square following utility diversions, but has been “fast-tracked” with a European Regional Development Fund grant.

The new tram stop is fully accessible with ramped access, and has ticket machines, smart card readers, emergency facilities and a PA system, as well as a “clean and uncluttered” design.

It is the result of collaborations between Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Manchester City Council and architects to ensure it made the most of the limited space available while retaining pedestrian routes.

The stop also means commuters can already benefit from a six-minute daytime service between Shaw and Crompton, Oldham and Exchange Square from Monday to Saturday, with a less frequent service on Sundays.

It has brought the Metrolink tram stop count to a total of 93. As recently reported by RTM, Metrolink is close to overtaking London Tramlink as the third busiest light rail network in England.

Exchange Square web

Cllr Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “Oldham line passengers are the first to benefit with increased services dropping them right on the doorstep of some of the city’s favourite shops, department stores, eateries and watering holes – and right in the middle of Christmas festivities.

“Getting the Exchange Square stop up and running weeks before Christmas is a significant achievement – and one that would not have happened without European funding to fast-track the work.”

Once it opens in 2017, the Second City Crossing will vastly increase capacity and network resilience in its busiest section. Deansgate-Castlefield and Victoria stops have both recently been transformed, while work at St Peter’s Square will carry on until next autumn. Trams can run through the stop, but they do not currently call there.

The main contractor for the Second City Crossing, delivered by TfGM in partnership with WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, is M-Pact Thales, a consortium between Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRal and Thales, with RATP Dev responsible for operating the network.

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