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Metrolink Introduction > City Centre: updated 9 December 2015
Street level routes and stops between Victoria, Piccadilly and Deansgate–Castlefield; Deansgate–Castlefield to Victoria is 3.1km and the branch to Piccadilly is 0.7km
When phase one was built the inbound tracks were widely separated to leave space for a bi–directional bus lane. A subsequent rearrangement of bus routes left the bus lanes unused. As part of the refurbishment of Piccadilly Gardens this area has been landscaped.
From the delta junction the route soon turns left into Market Street which has an island platform. This was built in 1998 on a disused single direction bus lane and replaced the original profiled platform Market Street and High Street stops on the outside of the tracks.
The route then turns right into and continues along High Street and Nicholas Croft before crossing Shudehill. Tram platforms at Shudehill opened on 31 March 2003, the full interchange opened on 29 January 2006.
Network Rail have built a new roof for this part of the station. The Metrolink stop has been rebuilt. There are two double sided platforms with three tracks, this new layout allowing future turnback arrangements for the full Metrolink phase 3b including Second City Centre Crossing.
To do this work safely, services did not call at the stop from 21 February 2014 to 21 February 2015. However there were through non–stop services, using a single line.
Victoria stop reopened with trams using both sides of the southern island platform.
Exchange Square to Victoria, the first part of the second city centre crossing, opened on 6 December 2015. Trams are using the outer faces of both island platforms; D for outbound and A for inbound.
See the Victoria station roof and Metrolink stop upgrade page for more details.
Leaving Victoria the line passes under Cheetham Hill Road bridge and joins the former Bury Electric Line Route. For the first 1.8 kilometres from Victoria to Irk Valley Junction this is shared by both Bury and Oldham & Rochdale lines.
During the second stage of stop rebuilding; services are using a single line through St. Peter’s Square, running non–stop, for ten months from the end of August 2015. Exchange Square to Victoria opened on 6 December 2015
On the diagram light green represents open Metrolink routes and stops. Second city crossing is shown orange. Main line railways and stations are shown blue.
Piccadilly Gardens stop is between the gardens/office block and bus station. During the 2009 blockade, track and overhead line on the bus station side was realigned and the platform widened from 4.1 to 6 metres with DDA compliant full level access throughout. Platform equipment has been rationalised and new canopies have been installed providing better shelter for even more people.
After crossing Portland Street the route is in a reserved way on one half of Aytoun Street, the other half is for two lanes of northbound road traffic. Starting on the bridge over the Rochdale Canal, the tram route crosses the road lanes to a reserved section through the Piccadilly Place development and a short length of the west side of London Road.
The southbound road lanes are crossed to reach Piccadilly Metrolink station outbound (formerly arrival) platform. Trams to Ashton continue eastward. The former reversing sidings have become through passenger lines. Terminating trams, without passengers, use the new reversing siding to the east of Sheffield Street; returning to pick up passengers from the inbound formerly departure platform.
British Rail required considerable protective works to prevent the possibility of collision or fire damage to the cast iron supports for the main line platforms, which may have led to the partial collapse of their station. Thus the Metrolink station was built in a large complex concrete box in the undercoft of the main line station. The tracks and platforms are at ground level. There are steps and escalators from platform level to a mezzanine level and further steps and escalators to the main line station concourse.
This mezzanine level was extended in 2001 to give access to steps and escalators down to the new Fairfield Street entrance. This entrance is for passengers arriving and departing by taxi and car.
Metrolink was originally provided with two lifts one from the outbound platform to mezzanine and main line levels and second lift which operates between inbound platform and mezzanine level.
There are also two lifts between the Fairfield Street entrance level and main line level. To use them instead of the Metrolink lift from the outbound platorm, walk along the passage to London Road, turn left, cross the tram tracks and continue to a doorway into the new concourse. A short passage leads from the Fairfield Street entrance area to the Metrolink departure platform.
The original entrance ramp is now reserved for pedestrians, Metroshuttle and rail replacement bus services. See the TfGM Metroshuttle page for more details, including revised routes and times.
St. Peter’s Square stop is being completely rebuilt to accommodate more services and the second city crossing.
For the first stage, services were suspended for eight weeks from 28 June 2015. Replacement bus services were available.
Now, for the second stage, there is a single line between Nicholas Street and the foot of the ramp to Deansgate–Castlefield; this will become the outbound line. The Nicholas/Mosley Street crossing is closed to road traffic. Services are running non–stop through St. Peter’s Square; single line working is using a variation on Staff and Ticket operation, similar to that used at Victoria last year.
This has been enlarged, it now includes the space between Princess Street and Peter/Oxford Streets in a north–east/south–west direction also the Town Hall & Central Library buildings to the north–west to the new 1 & 2 St. Peter’s Square office blocks to the south–east. The Cenotaph has been relocated near to the narrow south–eastern end of the Town Hall. Apart from Metrolink the expanded St. Peter’s Square, between Peter Street and Princess Street, will be traffic free. A reinforced concrete slab covers the crypt of St. Peter’s Church.
A new double island platform stop is being built at the Princess Street end of the square. This will allow cross-platform interchange between first and second cross city routes in both directions.
First and Second City Centre Crossings will share the existing tracks down the ramp alongside Manchester Central. Not at present connected to operating lines; the first and second city route inbound points have been installed at Windmill Street; they cross this as interlaced track which separates after the crossing, where 2nd CC takes the former inbound and 1st CC takes part of the former outbound track. A new outbound track has been provided on part of Lower Mosley Street, it rejoins the other part of the former outbound track before crossing Windmill Street.
The second cross city route will turn into Princess Street, alongside the Town Hall and Albert Square. It then turns into and runs along Cross Street, continuing along Corporation Street, with an island platform stop at Exchange Square, and onto Victoria Station.
Construction of the Exchange Square to Victoria section is complete. It opened on 6 December 2015 with a more frequent service between Shaw and Crompton, Oldham and the city centre.
Between the bowstring bridge, over Great Bridgewater Street, and curve into Deansgate–Castlefield stop there is a trailing crossover.
This stop has been re–built and expanded for the increased number of services that will operate with the second city crossing.
The new island platform is on the city side of the footpath from Exhibition Bridge. It has a ramp at the city centre end. The reconstructed outbound platform is slightly west of its former position and has steps at both ends. To give step free platform access; the level path against the viaduct wall has been replaced by a path with ramps in both directions. A new wall with a transparent vertical extension has been built on its own foundation just inside the original parapet wall.
A left hand facing turnout, just west of the old inbound platform position, takes the new inbound line through the former platform site. Associated with this is a crossover which enables a length the old inbound track to become bi–directional. This layout, shown in the diagram, is now controlled by TMS.
A new stairway from Whitworth Street West pavement to the stop has replaced the former stairway at the Albion Street end.
Exhibition Bridge, the footbridge from Deansgate rail station, has been refurbished. New transparent side walls have been provided within the existing skeletal structure. Since it opened in 1984; the ‘tubular’ covering deteriorated becoming considerably darker and broken in places and has been removed. The former brick stairway at the Deansgate end of Whitworth Street West has been demolished. A new lift and lightweight stair arrangement set in front of a dramatic ‘green wall’ are now in use.
TMS is now in use for the city centre and lines to Cornbrook and beyond.
See City South for a description of the segregated line to the south.
City Centre: top of page
This page was written and illustrated by Tony Williams. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.