|Light Rail Transit Association
Light Rail for better public transport
19 November 2010: No change in bikes on trams policy
19 November 2010: Mobility Scooters and Metrolink
19 November 2010: First tests on Chorlton line
16 November 2010: Mosley Street stop
18 October 2010: Abraham Moss stop
22 September 2010: MediaCityUK spur opened
20 September 2010: G–Mex stop renamed
8 September 2010: Oldham Town Centre Line Preparations
6 August 2010: Clearance work at Oldham Mumps roundabout
6 August 2010: Oldham line junction installed
5 August 2010: Bombardier to Supply 14 Additional M5000 vehicles
4 August 2010: Airport, Oldham and Rochdale town centre lines
3 August 2010: Altrincham and Eccles lines, Metrolink works
15 July 2010: Queen’s Road Depot Expansion, formal opening
2 July 2010: Bury and Eccles lines, stops to be refurbished
2 July 2010: Bury Line Traction Power System
2 July 2010: Chorlton line
2 July 2010: Trafford Depot
17 June 2010: Ashton and Didsbury Metrolink extensions
17 March 2010: Metrolink in Oldham
17 March 2010: Shaw and Crompton Signal Box
8 March 2010: Altrincham Line Lift Refurbishment
8 March 2010: Funding for Ashton and Didsbury lines
5 March 2010: Airport line, funding for first steps
23 February 2010: Oldham Mumps station canopies
12 February 2010: Bicycles on Trams
15 January 2010: Mosley Street stop
On 12 February 2010 GMITA agreed to set up a cross–party working group to carry out a further detailed assessment of the carriage of cycles on trams. The group had two Authority members from each of the three main parties. It took on board comments and evidence from all sides of the debate — including tram passengers and cycling and environmental groups. The findings of this review were considered by GMITA’s Policy & Resources Committee on 19 November 2010.
Under the existing Conditions of Carriage, only fully encased folding bikes are allowed on board. Members agreed not to change this policy but clarified that covered folding bikes could be taken on board.
Members also agreed that the design for mid–life refurbishment of the original T68 trams should not prevent any future adaptation of tram interiors, in case the policy on carriage of bikes changed in future.
They also agreed to ask Stagecoach Metrolink to investigate the possibility of extending the South West Trains folding cycle lease scheme to Metrolink and to explore the possibility of a major bicycle hire scheme for Manchester City Centre and Salford.
GMITA’s Policy & Resources Committee considered an interim report on the existing bye–law that prevents mobility scooters being used on Metrolink. Members agreed to set up a cross–party working group to consider the matter and also to press the Government for its response to a consultation on proposed changes to the laws governing mobility scooters.
There are three main types of wheelchair related mobility aids:-
The designs of Mobility Scooters are not regulated. They are also operated in a different way from wheelchairs; needing a wider turning circle due to having 2 axles and steering in a conventional manner.
The first in a series of tram trials along the Chorlton extension have taken place. Two trams, a T68 from 1992 then a new M500, were pushed by a diesel locomotive from the new depot at Old Trafford to a point just south of the new stop at St Werburgh’s Road before returning on the line back to the depot.
These are known as gauge runs and enable GMPTE to check things like gauge and platform clearance. A spokesman confirmed that the trial was successful. Further tests are expected in the New Year when overhead power lines are energised.
Meanwhile the three stops on this line; Firswood, Chorlton and St Werburgh’s Road are almost complete and awaiting lighting, ticket machines and completion of entrances and lifts.
On 19 November, the Metrolink web site announced that the Overhead Line on this extension and in the Depot have been energised.
GMITA has asked the Department for Transport for permission to close the stop following a report to its Capital Projects Committee earlier this year. See the 15 January 2010 news item below which has a summary of background information.
The DfT has assessed the proposal and its view is that retaining the stop would be poor value for money. Also it believes the benefits of closing the stop, which will facilitate the wider improvement plans for the Metrolink system, outweigh the dis–benefits to users of the stop. Therefore the Department supports the proposal to close the stop. As part of the statutory process, the DfT is consulting on the proposal from 10 November 2010 until 9 February 2011.
Preparatory and site clearance work for this stop began on Monday 18 October. This area has a priority for housing renewal. The stop is being funded through the Homes and Communities Agency’s Communities Infrastructure Fund. It will also serve the Abraham Moss Centre, the local high school, college, library, leisure centre and theatre.
The stop will have staggered platforms with a foot track level crossing replacing the existing underpass, it is expected to be completed during summer 2011.
Service started on Monday 20 September. Pending commissioning of the new Tram Operating System (TOS) points were operated manually with local hand signalling. An incident on Tuesday evening stopped the Eccles line running until 08:00 hours on Wednesday 22 September.
Services to the MediaCityUK stop will remain suspended until damaged overhead line equipment can be repaired. So the rest of Eccles line can run a 12 minute interval service, this work will have to be carried out in limited overnight periods. It is unlikely that services to the MediaCityUK stop will resume this week.
G–Mex stop, named after the exhibition centre now known as of Manchester Central, has been renamed Deansgate–Castlefield. This took place along with the changes of maps and signs needed for the opening of the MediaCityUK spur.
Over the August Bank Holiday weekend, the northern bridge at Oldham Mumps was demolished by cutting up and hoisting out of place.
The stone viaduct will be removed over the next couple of months. Where possible, materials will be removed via the southern bridge, reducing construction traffic at the Mumps roundabout.
To minimise the impact on traffic using the Oldham Mumps roundabout in the busy run up to Christmas, the southern bridge will be removed early next year
Work on demolishing the former Baptist Church on King Street, which is no longer in use, will also begin in the next couple of weeks.
The former railway ran over a viaduct and two bridges. Metrolink will run at ground level through the roundabout. On 9 August around three weeks preparatory work will begin. This will involve vegetation clearance, also some preparatory works on the ground and viaduct. Demolition of the viaduct will take place in late summer.
During a one week blockade of Metrolink between Woodlands Road stop and Victoria, from 31 July to 6 August, Irk Valley Junction has been installed but not commissioned. The track crossover at Victoria, which was almost 20 years old, has also been replaced. Replacement bus services, running at the same frequency as the usual tram service, operated between Woodlands Road and Piccadilly.
Bombardier Transportation, together with consortium partner, Vossloh Kiepe, have signed an option to supply an additional 14 Bombardier Flexity Swift light rail vehicles to GMPTE for Metrolink. This option, valued at GBP 27 million, forms part of the April 2007 contract signed with GMPTE.
Following approval by GMITA on 23 July and AGMA on 30 July 2010 contracts have been signed for the Airport line plus Oldham and Rochdale town centre extensions. Funding of GBP 0.5 billion is from the Greater Manchester Transport Fund.
GMPTE has appointed MPact–Thales (MPT) to design, construct and maintain these new lines. Work will follow on from Phase 3a plus Ashton and Didsbury lines. Trams are expected to be running to Oldham and Rochdale town centres during spring 2014 and to Manchester Airport during mid 2016.
These lines will be closed on Sunday evenings; 8, 15 and 22 August; from 16:00 hours until the end of service. In addition, Altrincham line services will be suspended from 20:00 hours on Friday 20 August until 10:00 hours on Saturday 21, and then from 20:00 hours on the Saturday until 11:00 on Sunday 22 August.
Normal tram services will resume on the Altrincham and Eccles lines from the start of service on the Monday following each closure. Frequent replacement bus services will be provided during all the closures, and passenger information will be provided at all affected stops.
The closures will allow engineering work to be carried out on connections to the new South Manchester line to Chorlton, and the installation and testing of a new system which will lead to improved passenger information.
Transport Minister Norman Baker met Greater Manchester’s transport leaders and formally opened the extended Metrolink Queen’s Road tram depot.
The GBP 10.5 million depot extension was completed on budget and without disrupting the operation of Metrolink services. Main depot works were carried out by Stagecoach on GMPTE’s behalf.
Depot capacity has been increased to 44 trams, the Metrolink fleet is increasing from 32 to 80 as part of the ongoing expansion. There are more stabling sidings, a new stores building, new maintenance berths with improved access and workshop equipment for maintaining the new M5000 trams.
GMITA’s Capital Projects Committee has agreed a package of improvement works to stops on the Bury and Eccles Metrolink lines. They will take place over the next 18 months and follow similar improvements, made in 2009, to Altrincham line and city centre stops.
Platforms and shelters will be repaired, deep-cleaned, decorated and new signs installed. Access to the stops will be improved by refurbishing steps, ramps, underpasses and footbridges. Existing CCTV coverage will be enhanced and lighting improved, as required. De–vegetation and the removal of some walls will improve visibility. Lifts at Cornbrook, Heaton Park, Besses o’th’ Barn and Bury will be refurbished.
Car parks on the Bury line and at Ladywell will benefit from new signs and spaces will be remarked where necessary. The cycle parking facilities at each stop will be reviewed and enhanced where necessary.
The Bury line power supply system had difficulties with double tram operation during the City Centre Track Upgrades in 2009. Instead of a double tram every 12 minutes, it became necessary to run a single tram every 7 minutes in morning and afternoon peak hours and every 12 minutes at other times.
To enhance the service, probably the direct Bury–Altrincham–Bury having double trams in peak hours, contracts worth GBP 2.4 million have been let. They are for an additional substation at Bowker Vale and to re-enforce the existing substations at Prestwich and Woodlands Road. Expected completion date is December 2010.
Inbound and outbound tracks have been laid to the full length of this line. Construction works for all three stops; Firswood, Chorlton and St Werbergh’s Road has started. Also, the precast platform and lift shafts have been installed at Firswood. Overhead Line Equipment installation is planned to commence in July 2010.
The stabling roads within the Trafford Depot have all now been installed, and cleaners’ platforms have been completed.
The fit out of the maintenance building and the control building has commenced. Completion of these works will enable hand over, as scheduled, in September 2010.
Overhead Line Equipment installation is progressing with second phase hand over by the end of June 2010. This will allow up to 20 LRVs to be stabled under live Overhead Line Equipment.
Confirmed funding approvals from the Department for Transport were granted in March; see 8 March 2010: Funding for Ashton and Didsbury lines below. A Design, Construct and Maintain contract was subsequently let to MPT on 26 March 2010.
Following the General Election, the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced a review of public spending commitments made since 1 January 2010. This did not include specific reference to any of the schemes within the GM Transport Fund. DfT have since notified GMPTE that the East Didsbury and Ashton Metrolink extensions will not be suspended or cancelled. Thus the works will continue to progress as planned.
A report to the Cabinet of Oldham MBC outlined the current Metrolink proposals, for both phases 3a and 3b.
Phase 3a; the railway route, will not have a stop at Werneth. The bridges and elevated section of track across Mumps roundabout are to be demolished. Phase 3a will run at ground level, with signal controlled level crossings of the existing highway. A temporary Mumps stop will be provided, on or near the old Mumps Station site. Trams are expected to start running to in autumn 2011.
Phase 3b; Manchester Street roundabout will have signal controlled level crossings for Metrolink and pedestrians. Then the line will be in a cutting through the elevated area previously occupied by The Pennine Way Hotel.
A new phase 3b Mumps stop, adjacent to the old B & Q store, together with a Park and Ride facility will provide a tram/bus/car interchange. The phase 3a route will close when phase 3b is opens in Spring 2014.
More details on the Oldham and Rochdale page.
The railway signal box at Beal Lane in Shaw and Crompton is being removed, as part of the Oldham Loop Line conversion to Metrolink. GMITA had hoped to find a group willing to salvage the signal box. This could not happen as a survey discovered asbestos within the fabric of the building.
Following discussions with GMITA and MPact–Thales, the East Lancashire Railway accepted an invitation to recover mechanical and electrical equipment. They have also successfully salvaged equipment from the Oldham signal box.
ELR general manager Andy Coward said: “Opportunities such as this are extremely rare and we appreciate GMITA inviting us to recover as much as we could from the boxes at both Oldham and Shaw and Crompton. We have four signal boxes on the East Lancashire Railway and the equipment we salvaged will be used within those boxes to support the operation of the ELR now and into the future.”
On 15 March work to replace lifts is due to begin. Timperley, Brooklands, Sale and Dane Road tram stops will be affected.
Timperley outbound (towards Altrincham); Brooklands and Sale, both inbound (towards Manchester) will be first. Passengers needing to use one of these lifts are being advised to travel via either Dane Road or Navigation Road.
Work to replace the inbound (towards Manchester) lifts at Timperley and Dane Road is expected to start on 26 April.
The Government has granted final funding approval for the two tram extensions which are being fast tracked. These are Droylsden to Ashton and Chorlton to East Didsbury.
Total scheme costs are GBP 170m. A Department for Transport contribution, capped at GBP 120.9m, is towards the main schemes costs of GBP 161.2m. GMPTE will be liable for additional contingency of GBP 9m
A further eight new trams will be ordered to serve the expanding Metrolink network, six of which will be funded by the DfT. Funding has also been provided for two new Park and Ride sites at Ashton Moss and Ashton West able to accommodate over 600 cars in total.
GMITA’s Capital Projects Committee released GBP 26 million to fund design and preparatory work; enabling significant steps to be made on the extension this year.
Extensive topographic, geotechnical and environmental surveys will take place and the results will be used to inform the design process. There will also detailed work on the scope and programme for diverting utilities such as electrical cables and pipes.
The Airport line is largely financed by the Greater Manchester Transport Fund, a GBP 1.5 billion investment programme covering 15 major transport schemes for Greater Manchester.
An agreement has been reached between MPact–Thales, the consortium converting the Oldham and Rochdale Loop Line to Metrolink, and the East Lancashire Railway (ELR) to take the canopies down sympathetically so they can be used on the heritage railway line. The wrought iron railings that lead passengers up to the platform are also being retained by the ELR.
On 15 January 2010 GMITA’s Capital Projects Committee considered a report of the GMPTE Metrolink Director on “The Implications of the Carriage of Bicycles on Trams”
The report recommended continuing with the current policy, this only permits folding cycles which are fully encased (accepted by 7 votes for and 5 against).
It was also resolved that a report on current and future proposals for proposed increased GMPTE investment in cycle facilities on the current Metrolink network, Rail Stations etc. be submitted to the committee’s 5 March 2010 meeting.
GMITA has received a lot of representations from cycling group members. On 12 February 2010 GMITA agreed to set up a cross–party working group to carry out a further detailed assessment of this issue.
Two Authority members from each of the three main parties will make up the group, which will also seek advice from tram users, cycling organisations and the ten district authorities. This group will report back to GMITA with its findings.
GMITA also asked for a report on any other European tram systems, with similar operating characteristics to Metrolink, that allow bikes to be carried be brought to its Policy and Resources Committee. The cost implications of enabling bikes to be carried, including the cost of modifications to old and new trams, will also be calculated as part of the review. In addition, the report will explore, in consultation with the operator, Stagecoach Metrolink, the potential for a pilot scheme.
GMITA’s Capital Projects Committee considered an update report on the potential closure of the Mosley Street Metrolink stop. Closure would be under Section 25 of the Railways Act 2005; it would take approximately a year to process and implement, during this time services would continue at Mosley Street stop.
The Committee approved closure of Metrolink Mosley Street stop and the issue of notice to the Department for Transport. They also agreed that Passenger Information displays will be installed in the Piccadilly Gardens area and at nearby locations, providing real time information on the next tram arrival and from which stop the next Altrincham service would depart (Piccadilly Gardens or Market Street).
Now that St. Peter’s Square stop platforms have been made full height, Mosley Street is the only stop with a profiled platform. With single unit trams only the central doors (2 out of 4) open on to a full height, level platform; the front and rear doors open onto a ramp. For double units, access requires retractable steps which are fitted to the existing fleet of T68 vehicles.
A 28 November 2008 report, to the GMPTA Development Committee, explained that there are significant reliability issues with retractable steps on the T68 vehicles — requiring high attendant costs to keep them in a functional condition.
Mosley Street stop could be modified to accommodate trams without retractable steps; the cost of this is far less than that of fitting and maintaining steps on the new tram fleet. On the most constrained site in the city centre, this stop could either be modified to full height over its entire length or be removed completely. Making it full height would further restrict pedestrian flow and access to retailers immediately to the rear of the stop.
A survey on a week day and weekend in February 2009, neither a school nor a bank holiday, showed that in the peak evening period an average of 34 people boarded each tram and the whole day average was 19. This indicates that Mosley Street passengers would not create passenger flow issues at Piccadilly Gardens, St Peter’s Square and Market Street stops.
Phase 3A will increase the number of outbound trams crossing the delta junction from 15 to 25 trams/hour. This averages as a tram every 144 seconds, the Urban Traffic Control system has a 90 second cycle. If all trams, which interface with the UTC on both approach and departure, also stop at Mosley Street; it will have an adverse impact on tram movements through the delta from Piccadilly Gardens and Market Street, resulting in trams bunching in the city centre, effecting all service headways and service reliability.
News 2010: top of page
This page was written 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.