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MPT wins £350m contract to build Metrolink’s Trafford Park extension

The Metrolink Trafford Park line will be built by the consortium which has already delivered the other extensions to Manchester’s light rail network.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has given the green light for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to continue its partnership with M-Pact Thales (MPT), a consortium of VolkerRail, Laing O’Rourke and Thales.

VolkerRail and Laing O’Rourke will be responsible for the design and construction of the civil engineering and track for the new line, while Thales will deliver the tram operating systems.

The DfT issued the order giving the green light for Trafford Park in October. Work on the £350m project is due to begin this winter.

MPT has already successfully delivered extensions to the MediaCityUK, Manchester Airport, Ashton, East Didsbury, Oldham and Rochdale lines, and is currently finishing the Second City Crossing, where tram testing began yesterday morning.

Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink director, said: “Together we have developed a tried and tested approach to delivering our award winning expansion programme.

“We have achieved a phenomenal amount since 2008 with bigger and better things still to come so I’m pleased our award winning partnership will continue with the expansion of the Trafford Park line.”

Bryan Glass, MPT’s joint venture board director, added that the consortium has successfully delivered three main contract extensions for Manchester Metrolink with the team on schedule to complete the Second City Crossing early next year.

“We are therefore delighted that TfGM has appointed us as a trusted partner to deliver the latest phase of the Metrolink’s growth taking the line through Trafford Park to the Trafford Centre,” he said.

When completed in 2020-21, the Trafford Park line will run for 5.5km and reach six stops, providing connections to key Manchester sites such as Old Trafford and the Imperial War Museum.

The news comes as Metrolink celebrated its highest number of passengers ever, with 3.3 million people using the network in October 2016. A recent Freedom of Information request by RTM found that fare-dodging on Metrolink has increased along with the rise in passengers, with £3.1m of revenue lost in 2015-16.

Cushing said: “With the Second City Crossing just around the corner I look forward to welcoming even more people on board with Metrolink in 2017 – our silver jubilee year.”

GMCA also approved a plan for WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff to continue as TfGM’s delivery partner.

In 2017, TfGM is due to announce the winner of the contract to operate Metrolink for the next 10 years. It has been reported that the body does not favour continuing with the current operator, RATP Dev.

(Image: design for the new Event City stop)

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Andrew Gwilt   02/12/2016 at 19:43

The Port Salford extension will take about 2-3 years to be built and completed. Plus is there any future plans to extend the Metrolink to Stockport.

David.   03/12/2016 at 20:59

There's a tram-train plan, Andrew, but seeing how delayed it's been in Rotherham, I wouldn't get my hopes up. Then again, Manchester seems to get all the money.

Andrew Gwilt   06/12/2016 at 20:49

Properly you are right David.

Jerry Alderson   07/12/2016 at 16:45

If RTM wanted to be really useful perhaps it could try to explain why this short tram extension is going to cost £350m - about the same as the borders rail cost (land, legal and construction) in 2012 prices, and it was about 55km not 5.5km. I am at a loss to explain the high figure. The short tram extension to Blackpool North (admittled fairly simple, but plenty of road alterations) is going to cost about £20m - so per km the Trafford Park scheme is almost treble.

Pedr   10/12/2016 at 23:07

A small railway in Wales, in recent years, built a 25-mile branch line for some £26 million. Admittedly, this is at the bottom end of the price range, but the disparity with the bigger schemes is so extreme as to raise questions as to where the money goes. Not many expensive conferences, famous speakers or black tie dinners in Wales....

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