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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
Phase 2; Eccles line
Phase 3a & 3b; to Rochdale, Ashton, Didsbury & Airport
Trafford is strawberry | Stockport is brown
Main line railways are blue
East Lancashire Railway, a heritage line, 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.


Trafford Park line: under construction

The 2007 TIF bid included a Pomona to Trafford Centre line. A Greater Manchester referendum rejected the TIF bid proposals.

In May 2009, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), agreed a Greater Manchester Transport Fund (GMTF) prioritising public transport and highway schemes. This excluded the Pomona to Trafford Centre line.

A new alignment was proposed in 2014; with a public consultation held from July to September. The route was modified slightly. TfGM applied for TWAO powers which were granted on 13 October 2016. See the Trafford page for details.

Other Possible Extensions

Wythenshawe loop

Originally the Airport 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.

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.

Powers for this section will retained and protected. 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.

Didsbury to Stockport

The former railway from Didsbury to Stockport Tiviot Dale station was not protected after closure. Mostly built on an embankment, in cuttings or tunnel, access to adjacent areas would not be good even if the route were still available.

An extension from East Didsbury to Stockport town centre was proposed in 1999. GMPTE held consultations and then applied for Transport and Works Act powers. The process came to a halt in 2004 when the Big Bang expansion was halted. Powers and funding would be required for this line.

This is a brief description of the line as planned in 2004.

From Parrs Wood Lane to Station Road, the former rail line cutting was filled in the early 1980s. It was proposed to remove the fill, construct Metrolink in a tunnel, and put earth back on top restoring the park for people to use the area. The Metrolink tunnel would have continued under Station Road.

Business properties were built where the railway used to run; these would be unaffected. A small part of the Heaton Mersey Park Sports Grounds would have been needed to provide an embankment. This part of the route is in a conservation area, and special care would be taken to make sure Metrolink enhanced the area.

Metrolink would have had a traffic light crossing of the western end of Craig Road. A part of the railway embankment would have been removed, making room for a ground level stop.

East of the proposed Craig Road stop the former railways split and the proposed route would have followed the southern spur away from the houses on Craig Road towards the River Mersey. There the M60 and river would have been crossed at the same place with a single bridge. The route would then travel through the Gorsey Bank area on the south bank of the Mersey.

Because Brinksway is narrow, has sharp bends and carries a large amount of traffic, the Metrolink line would then have crossed to the north bank of the Mersey; running close to the north bank of the river through the Yew Street employment area. Kings Reach stop would have served existing buildings such as the ‘Pyramid’ and future developments.

Crossing back onto the south bank of the Mersey and joining Brinksway just before the junction with Hollywood Way. Then the trams would have run in both directions along Chestergate, passing under the railway viaduct to terminate alongside Stockport Bus Station in the town centre.

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.