|Light Rail Transit Association
Light Rail for better public transport
Metrolink Introduction > Eccles Line: updated 4 June 2012
The Manchester Ship Canal, opened in 1894, allowed ocean–going vessels to reach docks close to the centre of Manchester. By the early 1980s changes in freight transport methods, including containerisation, removed most of the traffic from the docks.
Plans were made for redevelopment of the disused dockland area which was renamed Salford Quays. Water basins were created by separating the former docks from the Manchester Ship Canal. Now extensively cleaned and maintained, they are the setting for high quality residential, commercial and leisure developments.
With the Altrincham Metrolink line passing close to Salford Quays, it was possible to plan a high quality public transport link to central Manchester and beyond. A reserved route was included in the quays redevelopment plans. Much of the traffic which previously used the Eccles New Road has diverted onto the parallel M602; this enabled the Metrolink route to be extended to Eccles town centre, sharing space with road traffic. This line is Metrolink phase two
Services normally run between Piccadilly (for main line station) and Eccles, calling at all stops.
See City Centre for a description of Victoria, Piccadilly, Deansgate–Castlefield and the lines between them; also City South from Deansgate–Castlefield to Cornbrook.
A new bridge carries the Eccles line over the Bridgewater Canal and onto the Pomona Viaduct. This is a 650 metre long composite steel construction with the Pomona stop at the far end. This photograph was taken by Altram during construction work for the Eccles line. Tram passengers have extensive views over this site and along the canals from the Pomona Viaduct.
The Bridgewater and Ship Canals are separated by a virtual island of former dock land. A new link lock between the two canals was opened in 1994. Before any viaduct construction work could begin, a temporary sheet pile wall was installed to strengthen the ground between the waterways, eliminating the risk of the higher level Bridgewater Canal draining into the Manchester Ship Canal.
Pomona is an island platform stop, it has a lift and stairs linking platform and ground levels. Leaving Pomona the route turns sharp right crossing the new bridge over the Ship Canal and passing into the City of Salford. The line descends to ground level between Exchange Quay and Soapworks development.
From Pomona through MediaCityUK to Eccles this line is now fully controlled by the new Tram Management System.
On the diagram light green represents operating Metrolink route and stops.
Exchange Quay stop serves this development, the nearby residential area, Ordsall Hall Museum, as well as the Copthorne Hotel, offices, bars and restaurants.
After crossing Trafford Road the route reaches Salford Quays stop, located between St Peter Basin and Trafford Road.
Between Salford Quays and Anchorage stops the route crosses Furness Withy Viaduct over the car parks at Custom House and Furness House. This 250 metre long viaduct structure includes a 100 metre reinforced in situ concrete curved bridge section. Note that there is no direct pedestrian route between Salford Quays and Anchorage stops.
Anchorage stop is to the east of the Anchorage development at the end of Erie Basin. The stop serves this and nearby developments, also residents of north Ordsall.
Harbour City stop and the route is on a reserved alignment between the architecturally striking Victoria office building and its multi–storey car park. These are on the north bank of the Erie Basin.
This 0.4 kilometre (quarter mile) single track extension is now open. It has a facing connection west of Harbour City stop and trailing connection south of Broadway stop; these two chords form a triangular junction with the outbound line. A single line then runs to a new two side platforms stop at MediaCityUK; these platforms are parallel to the northern edge of North Bay. Existing trailing and facing connections between outbound and inbound lines, originally provided for the Lowry spur, will allow trams to and from MediaCityUK in both Eccles and Manchester directions. The Lowry is a short walk away, across the dam which separates North Bay and Huron Basin.
There is now a MediaCityUK — Piccadilly service during the daytime. At other times Eccles line services are calling at MediaCityUK in both directions.
When the new Tram Operating System comes fully into use through Cornbrook, a south/west facing turn back facility (the new ‘pocket–turnback’ siding) will be used for a 12 minute interval shuttle service between Cornbrook and MediaCityUK. It will operate from 0715 hrs to 2000 hrs, giving a 6 minute interval service from Cornbrook to Harbour City. When the shuttle service is not running all Eccles trams will call at MediaCityUK.
The BBC has moved some departments from London and its Manchester based activities to MediaCityUK.
Broadway stop is at the north end of a landscaped open strip between The Quays and Broadway roads. It is in an area containing a mixture of factories, warehousing and offices.
The first street running section is along the entire length of South Langworthy Road from Broadway to Langworthy stops. The layout allows right turn pockets between tracks, making easier access to businesses located off South Langworthy Road.
Langworthy stop is located in a short corridor between Eccles New Road and industrial premises to the south. The stop is convenient for the surrounding residential and commercial premises, including the residential area of Langworthy north of the M602.
Street running continues along Eccles New Road to the off–street Weaste stop which is on the north side between Weaste Road and Foster Street. Weaste Road provides easy pedestrian access to the area of Weaste to the north of the railway and motorway.
Across the road, Salford Corporation’s former tram/bus depot site has been redeveloped as a rental apartment complex. The Eccles New Road façade has been retained and modified slightly.
Leaving Weaste, street running continues to Ladywell stop which is off–street to the south of Eccles New Road. A pedestrian crossing offers easy access from Canterbury Gardens.
Metrolink’s first purpose–built car park is located off Eccles New Road adjacent to the Ladywell stop and has 450 spaces. It is surrounded by a high perimeter fence, open and operational on a 24–hour basis with full time security staff and CCTV coverage. A number of parking spaces in close proximity to the fully accessible Ladywell Metrolink platform have been dedicated for specific use by disabled passengers.
A short tunnel under Ladywell Junction takes trams to the terminal Eccles stop at Regent Street in Eccles town centre. Eccles bus station is sited just to the west of the Metrolink platform and incorporates its own taxi rank.
Eccles town centre provides the main shopping and employment opportunities within the area. It is also the district centre for the surrounding residential areas of Patricroft, Peel Green, Winton and Monton.
Monday to Saturday services run every 12 minutes to Piccadilly Station, with off–peak services are calling at MediaCityUK in both directions. The peak hours MediaCityUK service is at present running to Piccadilly.
On Sundays services run every 12/15 minutes to Piccadilly station.
Change at Cornbrook for Altrincham and Piccadilly Gardens for Victoria and Bury.
Further information is available on the TfGM web site, see the Links page.
Eccles Line: top of page
This page was written and illustrated by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association. Contact email@example.com if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.