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Metrolink provides safety example for European experts

Light rail experts from across Europe visited Greater Manchester this week to explore new ways of keeping tramways safe in urban areas.

Visiting various street-running sections across the Metrolink network such as Eccles, Droylsden, Oldham and the city centre, participants were able to learn from Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) experience and safety record.

The visit was part of a project entitled ‘Operation and safety of tramways in interaction with public space’, which is funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST).

The project aims to review the safety of tram systems in traffic and pedestrian areas to maximise safety on both the transport system and street areas.

TfGM Metrolink director, Peter Cushing, said: “I am delighted that Manchester was chosen to host such an important event.

“Metrolink has an outstanding safety record and has operated alongside other road users and near pedestrians in the city for more than 20 years now.

“Accidents involving trams are very rare and we are determined to keep it that way. Projects like this, where we get to share examples and evidence of best practice are key to achieving that.”

Project chair, Laetitia Fontaine, of French tram safety authority STRMTG, found the visit interesting and said they were shown many safety innovations that could be used to help improve safety on European tramways.

Maarten Duhoux from Brussels Transport Operator in Belgium said: “The Metrolink network has grown beautifully over the last 20 years and has exciting plans to develop further.

“It is an excellent example of how a tramway can be a regional express network, eliminating transfer times by running into and through the city centre.”

Thirty one participants from Poland, France, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Netherlands, Ireland, Austria and Israel and the UK attended the three-day event from 16-19 September.

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