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Consultation on Manchester Metrolink extension set to begin

A major public consultation on proposals to build a new Metrolink line in Manchester to improve public transport links to Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre is due to take place this summer.

Subject to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee approval at a meeting on 20 June, a wide-ranging 12-week public consultation will launch on 4 July.

During the upcoming meeting, the Committee will be given a progress update on plans for the 5.5km line, which would run from the existing Pomona stop on a largely off-street route through to the Trafford Centre.

Six new stops are planned near to key destinations, including Wharfside for Old Trafford, the Imperial War Museum North, Trafford Park Village, Parkway, EventCity and the Trafford Centre.

Peter Cushing, Metrolink director at TfGM, said: “Taking Metrolink to Trafford Park has long been an investment priority for Greater Manchester and we’re making real inroads towards making that a reality.

“Feedback from businesses and the wider public will be crucial in helping us to finalise the scheme ahead of applying for government powers later this year.”

As part of the consultation process, drop-in events will be held at around a dozen public venues on the route, alongside business events and one-to-one visits.

The new line, which has been the subject of discussion for a long time, would serve more than 1,300 businesses and 35,000 jobs at Trafford Park alone and is expected to encourage further regeneration and economic growth in the areas it passes through.

Last year the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership announced it may fund the construction of the Trafford line as far as Trafford Centre Metrolink station using the ‘Earnback’ mechanism of the Greater Manchester City Deal.

It has been estimated that the line could be built by as early as 2019-20, but this would be subject to the timescales involved with securing both the necessary powers and full funding.

The budget for the project has been earmarked at £350m and GMCA officials are actively exploring funding opportunities with the government. The GMCA has already approved an initial £37m of funding to get the scheme ‘shovel ready’, which included an order for 10 new trams to serve the line at around £2m a vehicle from Bombardier, which is already providing a total of 94 new trams for the Metrolink network.

(Image: c. sloane_jim)

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