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Metrolink History 2

Metrolink Phases and rail lines
diagram of metrolink phases and rail lines
Phase 1 Altrincham to Bury and City Centre is turquoise (blue-green)
Phase 2 Eccles line is lime green
Phase 3a is purple
Phase 3b is orange
Trafford is strawberry
Stockport is brown
western loop is grey
main line railways are blue
East Lancashire Railway is dark blue

Phase 3 Extensions

These were split into two stages. The first stage (3a) was approved on 6 July 2006. After selecting the M–Pact Thales consortium as preferred bidder, GMPTE went back to the Department for Transport. Final sign off for Phase 3a was received on 16 May 2008. GMPTE appointed M–Pact Thales to design, build and maintain the new lines.

Conversion of the Oldham and Rochdale line and building part of the South Manchester line to Chorlton were funded from part of the GBP520m budget reinstated on 16 December 2004. The East Manchester line to Droylsden was funded by GMPTE borrowings, to be repaid over 30 years from Metrolink revenue.

The second stage (3b) lines are Oldham and Rochdale town centres, Droylsden to Ashton–under–Lyne, East Didsbury and the Airport from Chorlton, also the second cross city route.

The funding for Phase 3b was a key part of the GMPTE 2007 Transport Innovation Fund bid. These proposals were rejected by voters, in all Greater Manchester areas, in the referendum on 12 December 2008. More information on the Transport Innovation Fund 2007 bid page. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities formally abandoned the bid on 19 December 2008.

Greater Manchester Transport Fund

Following the rejection of TIF proposals, transport officials reviewed the schemes from the bid. Those which did not require funding from congestion charging were re–prioritised on the basis of contribution to the economy.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) has agreed a Greater Manchester Transport Fund (GMTF) prioritising public transport and highway schemes involving an investment of over GBP1.5 billion. GMTF will be funded through contributions from local transport programmes, future GMITA levies and regional allocations which have been earmarked for Greater Manchester. This funding and prioritisation proposal has been submitted formally to the Secretary of State for approval.

Metrolink extensions funded are to Manchester Airport, East Didsbury, Ashton–under–Lyne and the town centres of Oldham and Rochdale, as well as a second city crossing between Victoria and Deansgate–Castlefield.

On 13 May 2009 the Vice Chair of Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) met with Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon as he welcomed the fast–tracking of two new Metrolink extensions to Ashton in Tameside and East Didsbury in South Manchester, as well as a package of cross–city bus improvements and new park–and–ride spaces. Mr Hoon also welcomed proposals to bring forward GBP195 million of government funding for the four schemes. The remaining funding for the GBP244 million schemes will come from local contributions.


Beyond Phase 3b

The Pomona to Trafford Centre line was in TIF bid but excluded from the GMTF proposals. TfGM proposed a new alignment; a public consultation was held from July to September 2014. The route was modified slightly. TfGM applied for TWAO powers which were granted on 13 October 2016. See the Trafford page for details.

The Stockport extension was proposed. GMPTE applied for Transport and Works Act powers but the process came to a halt in 2004 when the Big Bang expansion was halted. This line requires both powers and funding.

Chorlton to Manchester Airport and Wythenshawe loop

Wythenshawe and Airport loop line diagram (7.3KB)

The lines to the Airport and Didsbury are open and shown in green. Main line railways are shown blue.

Originally the line was planned to run from Roundthorn with stops at Wythenshawe Hospital, Newall Green, Davenport Green and the Airport. Wythenshawe town centre loop was added to the original proposal following further investigation and public consultation by the GMPTE.

Shown in grey, the western side of the loop was dropped from the Metrolink Phase 3 proposals, see News 28 July 2005: Eastern option agreed for South Manchester and Airport Line.

GMPTE will retain and protect powers for this section. It will require further funding beyond the Greater Manchester Transport Fund proposals.

As part of a major new Ground Transport Interchange a 75 metre tunnel section under the Airport access road was completed in 2002.


Metrolink History 2: top


This page was written and illustrated by Tony Williams. Contact manwebm@lrta.org if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.