Trams on track for spring 2011
Date published: 17 June 2008
Trams on track for Spring 2011 arrival
New tram lines are due to start opening in Greater Manchester from Spring 2011 after transport bosses shook hands on a deal to extend the network.
Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) has appointed M-Pact Thales to design, build and maintain the new lines as part of a £575 million project. It has also announced more details about the timescales for the expansion.
The new lines to Oldham and Rochdale, Droylsden in Tameside and Chorlton in South Manchester will nearly double the size of the Metrolink network.
The Department for Transport gave its final approval for the project last month, and construction work is due to start early next year.
Philip Purdy, GMPTE’s Metrolink Director, said: “Residents and businesses across Greater Manchester have been hugely supportive of the Metrolink expansion and I’m pleased we’ve now been able to appoint a construction company to carry out the work.
“The new Metrolink routes will make it much easier for people living and working in the county to use public transport, and bring major benefits to the local economy.
“M-Pact Thales has a vast amount of experience, having worked on tram systems across the UK. The team will work closely with GMPTE staff and our Metrolink delivery partner, Parsons Brinckerhoff, to extend the network.”
The M-Pact Thales consortium is made up of Laing O’ Rourke, GrantRail and Thales UK. The team has previously worked on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link at St Pancras, the Singapore Mass Transit System and the London Underground.
M-Pact Thales will also build a new quarter of a mile extension to MediaCity:UK in Salford Quays if the project is approved by the government.
Bryan Diggins, M-Pact Thales’ Project Director, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract for this prestigious project. Our team is committed to completing the Metrolink expansion on time and within budget.
“Many of our employees live and work in the area and have already worked on projects to bring new schools, hospitals and transport facilities to the region. We also have people on board who were involved in building the first Metrolink lines, as well as tram systems in Croydon, Nottingham and Hong Kong.
“We’re looking forward to working with local communities to make sure we keep disruption to a minimum, and to keep people informed about the work.”
The new Metrolink lines will cover nearly 20 miles and include 26 stops. Trains will stop running on the train line to Oldham and Rochdale in Autumn 2009, with the new Metrolink line expected to open to trams between Manchester and Central Park in Spring 2011.
Trams are also due to begin running to St Werburgh’s Road in Chorlton by Spring 2011, Oldham Mumps by Autumn 2011, and to Rochdale and Droylsden by Spring 2012.
GMPTE is developing proposals for alternative bus services along the Oldham and Rochdale line while the work takes place. It will provide detailed information to passengers nearer the time.
The Metrolink network could be extended even further in the future. The money to build the extra lines would come from the government’s Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), and from a loan supported by the introduction of a limited, peak-time only, congestion charge.
The £3 billion TIF package includes extensions to Ashton-under-Lyne, East Didsbury, Manchester Airport, and Oldham and Rochdale town centres. Funding has also been earmarked to build a new line to Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre.
Passengers are expected to make up to 70 million journeys on Metrolink every year if all of the new lines are built. The extensions would take the total distance of the Metrolink network to 64 miles (103 km), almost tripling its size.
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