Second City Crossing opens as Metrolink complete ‘big bang’ expansion

The new Second City Crossing tram line through Manchester city centre was opened yesterday, marking the completion of Metrolink’s “big bang” expansion.

The line now links together 93 stops over 60 miles with the addition of the 1.3km stretch directly through Manchester’s city centre, making the light rail network the largest in the country.

The new service runs from the transformed Deansgate-Castlefield stop to a new stop outside St Peter’s Square, along Cross Street and then onto the Exchange Square and Victoria stops.

Work has been ongoing on the £1.5bn expansion since 2009 when construction started on a tram route to East Didsbury. Now that the project is finished, it has seen Manchester’s light rail network grown to three times its original size.

The chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee, Cllr Andrew Fender, said: “Having chaired a strategy group from 1982 – which developed the Metrolink concept – I am extremely proud, 35 years later, to see the completion of the Second City Crossing, and with it our phenomenal and multi-award winning ‘Phase 3’ expansion programme.

“It’s been a remarkable journey, one I’m privileged to have seen first-hand, and my thanks goes to all those who’ve worked so hard to turn those early dreams and ambitions into a reality and who have, ultimately, delivered a world-class transport system to the people of Greater Manchester.”

TfGM’s Metrolink director Peter Cushing, who recently wrote about the project for RTM’s printed edition, also expressed his excitement: “I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved with our partners over the last eight years as we’ve expanded the Metrolink network to become the largest light rail system in the UK.

The Second City Crossing opening is the culmination of years of hard work to complete the Phase 3 big bang expansion, and it would not have been possible without the hard work of my team, contractors MPT and operator RATP Dev, helping to make this a reality.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved and I look forward to seeing our customers right across the tram network experiencing the benefits.”

TfGM said the new line will allow more services that currently terminate at Deansgate-Castlefield and Exchange Square to continue on to Shaw and Crompton and East Didsbury.

The Second City Crossing is part of the infrastructure investment-focused ‘Grow project’, which has also included bus priority measures and six new cycle routes into the city centre, as well as improvements to major rail routes.

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Andrew Gwilt   27/02/2017 at 15:44

Good to see that the 2nd "Second" City Crossing is now opened on the Manchester Metrolink network. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_Metrolink The Trafford Park Metrolink extension to Port Salford is to commence from Summer this year and could be completed in late 2020 or early 2021 with stations on the new Trafford Park line also to be built. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafford_Park_Line What about other future Metrolink extensions that could also be given the go ahead including the extension to Stockport Town Centre and Stockport Railway Station and the proposed Metrolink loop extension via Wythenshawe Town Centre to/from Manchester Airport that also be given the go ahead with new Tram-Train vehicles to be built for these routes.

Huguenot   27/02/2017 at 17:46

If Manchester Metrolink is so successful, similarly Sheffield Supertram, Nottingham, West Midlands and Croydon, why is it that other cities like Leeds and Southampton/Portsmouth have been refused funding for a tram network?

Andrew JG   28/02/2017 at 03:55

I might actually take a visit to Manchester some point this year to ride on the Manchester Metrolink tram aswell exploring the routes on the tram network across Greater Manchester despite the construction of the Trafford Park line extension that is due to be completed in late 2020 or early 2021. Im a big fan of UK's trams. I've been on the Sheffield Supertram twice which I'm hoping to ride on the Rotherham line once the line does open. I've been on the Croydon Tramlink about 3 times. I went on the Blackpool tram for the first time. I also went on the Edinburgh tram twice. I'm a tram lover and tram enthusiast since I first went on the tram in the U.K when I was 10. And I love going on any tram.

Jerry Alderson   28/02/2017 at 14:05

Until Sunday I had been on every (public) part of every tram system in Britain (plus on a tram into Wednesbury depot to take a look inside). In my case it was to compare and contrast with other tram systems around the world to see how we can improve in Britain. One of my colleagues is a director of Edinburgh Trams so we'll be discussing it soon. Some are fully staffed and therefore don't have TVMs (e.g. Blackpool). Only two of our seven systems offer Wi-Fi. None offer power points. Sheffield Supertram shelters didn't have any seats. They vary massively. A more consistent passenger experience is needed.

David.Ward.   28/02/2017 at 14:09

Very proud to see my home City taking the lead. I can remember the old system and the last tram in 1949.Sustainable Transport is the way forward. This should be the lead for the New Garden Cities as it would take the burden off the already over stretched Road System, some of which locally where I now in live in Kent wasn't built for the Motor Vehicle.

Andrew G89   01/03/2017 at 02:34

I used to live near Norwich and Norwich used to have trams and mostly trolleybuses back in the past. But now local and regional buses that operates across Norfolk and East Anglia to/from Norwich City Centre is ever more becoming more and more busier and there has been plans to build a new tram system for City of Norwich which was shown as a possible scheme to get trams back for Norwich but the only problem is that there are hills located near to Norwich Castle in the city centre and trams can't climb up steep hills including hills located in the city centre. Plus Norwich isn't really a big city but a reasonable sized city that has always been the country town of Norfolk and it has such great history when Norwich was first built many hundreds of years ago. But Norwich will soon have its own tram system to serve the city centre and on the outskirts of Norwich. But the good news is that the new Norwich Northern Bypass is currently under construction and is due to open sometime late this year or early next year with Phase 2 to be announced to extend the Norwich Northern Bypass to meet with the A47 to the west of Norwich. As Phase 1 of the Norwich Northern Bypass Road that starts from the east of Norwich City Centre where it meets with the A47 and bypassing away from Norwich International Airport and it ends to the northwest of Norwich close to Faversham village. But yes Norwich may soon need to replace buses with trams for the outskirts of the city centre. As the new Norwich Northern Bypass will divert traffic away from the city centre and act as a Bypass that could become the Norwich Orbital route with the A47 Norwich Southern Bypass between Postwick and Cottseey. Just like the M25 and M60 motorways that were built to take traffic away from London and Manchester respectively.

Jon   11/03/2017 at 21:30

What does this article have to do with Norwich?

Andrew G89   18/03/2017 at 14:24

Well Norwich used to have trams and trolleybuses in the past. If you type in Trams & Trolleybus in Norwich on google.

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