Latest Rail News

03.11.14

Manchester to get £350m Metrolink extension to Trafford Park

Manchester is set to receive a new £350m Metrolink line to Trafford Park as part of a new devolution package to the region announced by George Osborne today.

Under the new deal Greater Manchester will get a new directly elected mayor who will chair the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which overseas Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

The chancellor announced the deal when he visited Manchester to open the new Metrolink line to Manchester Airport, which is now running – more than a year ahead of schedule. The current edition of RTM includes a special feature on how this was achieved.

He said: "I am delighted to be able to mark the opening of the new Metrolink line to Manchester airport over 12 months ahead of schedule. The network now covers over 92km and is a vital economic asset for Manchester.

"It is also great news that, thanks to the devolution deal I have agreed with Manchester today, there will be a further £350m extension to Trafford which will provide significant additional benefits to the city. The Metrolink will come under the powers of the new Mayor, supporting an Oyster-style travelcard system that will make traveling on the network and all of Greater Manchester's public transport simpler and easier.

"These are exactly the sort of transport improvements that will not only allow Manchester to prosper and thrive but also help turn our vision of a Northern Powerhouse economy into reality."

The ‘Oyster-style travelcard system’ mentioned by the chancellor has been in development in the region for some time, called Get Me There, and is in the process of being rolled out on the Metrolink network.

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Osborne also announced that in addition to the new tram line there will be a new London-style system of bus franchising in Greater Manchester, subject to consultation, which he says will ultimately provide a joined up network right across the city region, enabling seamless connections between trams, trains and buses.

Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: "The deal unlocks access to very substantial amounts of transport funding - providing more certainty and the ability to plan ahead. Not only that, it means that we can move ahead with the construction of the Metrolink line through Trafford Park to the Trafford Centre, a scheme which will benefit thousands of people and many businesses in the area.

"This bold and pioneering step will not only support the further development of Greater Manchester's economy, it will also have a very real and tangible positive affect on the lives of tens of thousands of people across Greater Manchester who will be able to access jobs and education more easily."

TfGM will now develop a detailed implementation plan with the government, on behalf of the Combined Authority, along with a delivery timeline.

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

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