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Manchester Metrolink News 2002

19 December 2002: Metrolink shortlist down to two
10 December 2002: Single Contract Extensions — Government agree funding package
15 November 2002: Oldham and Rochdale Line — Dean Lane station
13 November 2002: Consultation begins over Buckley Wells tram stop
16 October 2002: Transport chiefs give thumbs up to cycles on trams!
08 October 2002: Surveyors appointed for Single Contract Extensions property acquisition
04 October 2002: Strategic Rail Authority chairman backs Metrolink extensions
26 September 2002: Metroshuttle — free city–centre bus network launched in Manchester
09 September 2002: GMPTE puts its case for Oldham — Rochdale Metrolink
07 September 2002: Trams from Bonn for Metrolink
1 August 2002: Metrolink staff are using palm–top computers to curb fare dodgers
29 July 2002: Single Contract Extensions cost increase
25 July 2002: Victoria Station Metrolink platform reopened
23 July 2002: San Francisco Muni Cars NOT for Metrolink
22 July 2002: New Metrolink ticket range
02 July 2002: Medieval moat unearthed by advanced works for the Ashton–under–Lyne line
02 July 2002: New tunnel for Airport Metrolink line
10 June 2002: Metrolink Celebrates the Golden Jubilee
20 May 2002: Oldham and Rochdale Line — Preparation for Conversion
15 May 2002: San Francisco Muni cars for Metrolink
25 April 2002: Victoria Station roof repair in progress
25 April 2002: A step closer to Metrolink in Stockport
12 April 2002: Second Metrolink depot gets the go-ahead
10 April 2002: Shudehill Interchange
06 April 2002: Metrolink 10th Anniversary
03 April 2002: San Francisco trams for Manchester
22 March 2002: Greater Manchester’s billion pound transport boost
21 March 2002: Stops for Trafford Centre line
14 March 2002: Ashton Line bridge arrives early
15 February 2002: Metrolink double track for East Didsbury
13 February 2002: Stockport Metrolink extension improvement announced
08 February 2002: Metrolink Fare Review 2002
07 February 2002: New East Manchester Interchange — revised plans endorsed
28 January 2002: Bury & Altrincham Lines Station Improvements — Phase Two
19 & 25 January 2002: San Francisco tram in Manchester
02 January 2002: Transport chiefs ask the public about bikes on Metrolink


19 December 2002: Metrolink shortlist down to two

Today GMPTE announced the two shortlisted consortia that are preferred bidders for the Metrolink Phase Three ‘Single Contract’. This follows the 10 December 2002 (see below( funding package announcement.

The two chosen consortia are:

In March 2001 GMPTE selected four consortia, see Network News 15 March 2001: Phase 3 shortlist. GMPTE issued Bid Documentation to them in July 2001. Bids were submitted on 4 January 2002.

All four bids were of a high standard and were carefully considered. The selected bidder will operate and maintain Metrolink and construct the new Phase Three lines. The limited public funds available caused the economic aspects of each bid to be high on the agenda. However price cannot be the only factor — the other evaluation criteria were concerned with issues of quality, delivery and service offered.

Both the chosen consortia will now be invited to the Best and Final Offer (BAFO) Stage where they will be required to confirm their bids, finalise outstanding issues and obtain fully committed and underwritten funding for their Bids. The evaluation of the Best and Final Offers is expected to take place in August 2003 and final contract award is anticipated by the end of the year.

10 December 2002: Single Contract Extensions — Government agree funding package

On 10 December 2002, during Parliamentary questions in the House of Commons, Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Transport, announced that Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) have agreed a funding package with Government. This will make GBP520m available for the Single Contract Extensions. There will also be a private sector contribution of GBP300 million. The scheme will cost some GBP820 million.

The three lines to Oldham and Rochdale, Ashton-under-Lyne and South Manchester and Manchester Airport form the base Single Contract Extensions. These will more than double the network from 39km to 95km. The Metrolink network is expected to carry around 40 — 45 million passengers a year when complete and boost Greater Manchester’s economy by an estimated GBP170 million a year.

Four consortia are currently being considered for the design, build, operate and maintain contract. Tender prices have also been requested for the extensions to East Didsbury and Stockport and The Lowry. Further Government support may be sought for these two lines. Subject to private sector funding, the contract may also include an extension to the Trafford Centre.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) expects to announce the preferred bidders — a shortlist of two — within the next two weeks. The contract is likely to be awarded by late 2003. The successful consortium will also take over the operation of the existing Metrolink lines to Bury, Altrincham and Eccles. Construction is planned to start in Spring 2004. It is expected that all the lines included in the single contract will all be complete by 2010.

15 November 2002: Oldham and Rochdale Line — Dean Lane station

GMPTE has withdrawn its application to close Dean Lane station on the Manchester to Oldham and Rochdale line.

When the Manchester to Oldham and Rochdale line is converted to Metrolink parts of the existing line will not be used. As a result GMPTE had to apply to close the line as a conventional railway. See News 20 May 2002.

There were a number of objections, a large proportion about Dean Lane. The North West Rail Passengers Committee public hearing took place in the Oldham Civic Centre on the 6th September 2002. See News 9 September 2002.

When the line is converted to Metrolink, there will be two separate single lines at Dean Lane. The present Oldham bound track will be used for freight trains to the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Depot. The present Manchester bound track will be used for Metrolink. GMPTE stated it is undesirable to have a passenger stop on the single line for operational and safety reasons. However a similar situation exists at Navigation Road on the Altrincham line where there are two bi–directional lines and two level crossings in the section. Here Metrolink has a six minute service in both directions and there is a frequent service on the parallel heavy rail line.

There is the possibility of constructing a new island platform with ramped pedestrian access from the road. It would be on the double track section just to the west of Dean Lane bridge.

GMPTE had said that Dean Lane would reopen as a Metrolink stop if the proposed North Manchester Business Park (NMBP) stop had not been built.

Objectors also showed that the NMBP stop was not readily accessible to the residential areas around Dean Lane. The closure of Dean Lane station will increase car use by those who have access to one and reinforce social exclusion of those who have no car access.

Present usage of Dean Lane appears to be poor, though higher than both Hollinwood and Derker stations which are to become Metrolink stops. The peak service, six trains in three hours to Manchester in the morning and five in two and a half hours from Manchester in the evening, does not help.

There appears to be potential for park and ride at Dean Lane stop which is close to the main Oldham — Manchester road. This together with the increased frequency and city centre penetration of Metrolink services indicates that Dean Lane stop would be well used compared with the present station.

The North West Rail Passengers Committee recommended to the The Secretary of State for Transport that consent to the closure of Dean Lane station be refused on the grounds of hardship and social exclusion and the station should be developed.

13 November 2002: Consultation begins over Buckley Wells tram stop

Residents near the Buckley Wells area of Bury are to be asked their views on a number of options for the proposed new Metrolink tram stop and park and ride site.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) have invited householders to an Area Board meeting on 19 November at 7pm at Bury Town Hall where an explanation of the proposals will be given and GMPTE staff will be available to answer any questions. Additionally, display boards outlining the various options for the stop and park and ride site — which will have a 200 plus space capacity — will be on show in the Peel Room at Bury Town Hall for three days.

GMPTE research has shown that there is a strong demand for this extra stop. This consultation is intended to find the preferred option of people who live near the proposed stop.

16 October 2002: Transport chiefs give thumbs up to cycles on trams!

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority’s Development Committee, following months of consultation with cyclists and tram users, has unanimously agreed in principle to allow cycles on Phase 3 trams during non–peak hours.

GMPTA’s consultation showed a majority wanting to carry bikes on trams, but it was also realised this is not possible on existing trams.

Various issues need to be resolved before cycles can be allowed onto Phase 3 trams including:—

As well as discussing the issue with the Phase 3 bidders, GMPTE will over the next nine months carry out further consultation with a range of current and prospective tram users. This will focus on options that contribute to GMPTE’s aspiration to effect a modal shift in transport.

08 October 2002: Surveyors appointed for Single Contract Extensions property acquisition.

GMPTE have appointed property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton to acquire the properties required for construction of the Single Contract Extensions. James Ogborn, associate director in LSH’s valuation and corporate services team, has been appointed acquisition manager.

Surveyors at their Mosley Street office will acquire up to to 400 different property interests ranging from private houses to factories. There could be as many as 500 compensation claims.

04 October 2002: Strategic Rail Authority chairman backs Metrolink extensions.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling is considering whether allowing an additional GBP200m for Metrolink would be value for money after it emerged that the original costing of GBP500m was an underestimate.

Strategic Rail Authority chairman Richard Bowker told the Manchester Evening News that the ‘big bang’ extensions could well be the answer to the problem of Manchester’s overcrowded rail lines. “Heavy rail is not always the best solution in terms of meeting transport needs,” he said. “We should never just think that the only thing to do is build more railway lines. When the Bury to Altrincham line was converted to Metrolink, it had a drastic effect. Everything has got to demonstrate its value for money, but it could be part of the answer to resolving Manchester’s transport needs.”

The contract to build the new lines to Rochdale via Oldham, Ashton–under–Lyne and the Airport via South Manchester is due to be let next year. When the contract is awarded, the new operator will take over the whole system.

26 September 2002: Metroshuttle — free city–centre bus network launched in Manchester

Metroshuttle links the city’s rail and tram stations, main car parks and shopping areas, giving Manchester the most accessible and comprehensive free public bus service in the UK. Low–floor easy access buses are used.

Route 1, orange, is the already popular free Centreline bus service. This operates a circular service from Piccadilly rail station about every five minutes Monday to Saturday from 07:00 to 19:00 and every ten minutes on Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00.

Route 2, green, is a circular route from Victoria rail station connecting with Oxford Road and Deansgate rail stations. It runs every ten minutes Monday to Saturday from 07:00 to 19:00 and Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00.

Additional routes are being planned to provide connections to Salford Central rail station and the new Spinningfields business development area in the future.

The services will be operated by First Manchester, which has invested nearly GBP1m in a fleet of 10 new vehicles.

The Metroshuttle service will be funded and promoted through a partnership between Manchester city council, GMPTE, First, Allied London Properties, NCP Manchester, and the Manchester City Centre Management Company.

GMPTA are planning to expand the service as major redevelopments extend the economic boundaries of the city.

Brief route details are as follows.

Route 1: Piccadilly rail station, Chinatown, King Street, Cross Street, John Dalton Street, Deansgate, St Mary’s Gate, Cross Street, King Street, Piccadilly Gardens, Chorlton Street, Aytoun Street, Piccadilly rail station.

Route 2: Victoria station, Deansgate, Albert Square, Princess Street, Whitworth Street, Oxford Road station, Deansgate station, Deansgate, Corporation Street, Victoria station.

09 September 2002: GMPTE puts its case for Oldham — Rochdale Metrolink

On the 6th September, at a North West Rail Passengers Committee hearing in the Oldham Civic Centre, GMPTE answered objectors to the proposed closure of the Oldham and Rochdale line for conversion to Metrolink.

GMPTE was able to state its case for the closure and objectors were also given the opportunity to outline their objections in public. The Strategic Rail Authority also spoke in favour of the closure and conversion.

Geoff Inskip, GMPTE’s Metrolink Project Director, said that the existing Metrolink lines have made a real difference to people’s lives. The new lines will transform public transport in Greater Manchester with a frequent and reliable service. There will also be significant regeneration benefits in Oldham and Rochdale.

Objections included the length of time of the closure. GMPTE and the short listed bidders are seeking to minimise this. There are, however, very significant major engineering works required.

GMPTE will be organising alternative bus services, including express services tailored to meet demand, which will minimise journey times. The bus companies may provide certain services on a commercial basis. This was done during the Bury and Altrincham line conversion closure period.

On behalf of the SRA Joe Kerrigan, said there is a business case in favour of the closures taking effect. The SRA also believes that closure of Oldham Mumps and Oldham Werneth stations should have minimal effect on passengers.

GMPTE is currently short listing bidders and will appoint the chosen consortium next year. If the application is successful, closure will be immediately before conversion work starts. This will be May 2004 at the earliest.

The RPC will now report to the Secretary of State for Transport, who will decide whether to grant the closure based on the evidence available to him including that presented to him in the GMPTE application, the objections and the RPC report.

07 September 2002: Trams from Bonn for Metrolink

Trams from Bonn in Germany may be the solution to the present overcrowding on phase one lines.

To increase capacity it was proposed that centre sections could be added to existing trams. By early in 2002 it became clear that obtaining a sufficient level of fire safety certification would significantly increase the cost of this method.

Serco Metrolink looked at the possibility of using ex–Muni vehicles from San Francisco. Detailed investigations showed that although they could be adapted, a high level of refitting would be required to obtain approval for running in passenger service.

Serco Metrolink have also investigated the suitability of B100 trams from Bonn in Germany. They are in excellent condition and spares readily available as the vehicles are still being manufactured.

Modifications required to operate the B100 in Manchester appear to be relatively straightforward. A specification for the modification has been drawn up.

The programme depends on release of the B100 from Bonn. This in turn depends on delivery and successful testing of their new Bombardier K5000 vehicles.

Funding of GBP5.685m was approved in July 2002 by the Department for Transport, subject to confirmation of technical proposals for the required modifications.

It may be possible for the B100 trams to be in service in Manchester in 2004.

1 August 2002: Metrolink staff are using palm–top computers to curb fare dodgers

A special team is using wallet–sized Compaq iPAQ computers, carrying massive population databases to make sure people without tickets are brought to book.

The new system takes just three seconds to spot fictitious or incorrect names and addresses of fare evaders by checking against the details of the 430,000–plus people living in Greater Manchester. Those claiming to live outside the region are checked by staff at Metrolink headquarters.

The hi–tech database was supplied by Chester–based GB Group, which owns the UK’s most extensive set of population data — The National Register. This database containing more than 48 million UK names, addresses and telephone numbers, is licensed to businesses and non-profit organisations with strict guidelines on use.

The system is so quick that more peoples’ tickets can be checked protecting Metrolink’s revenue. It will help maintain the ‘walk on, walk off’ tram service and also protect those passengers who regularly buy tickets to travel.

Passengers who believe they are successfully cheating the system by giving false names and addresses are now being stopped in their tracks by this new technology. Additional data can be captured, such as route, destination of the passenger and time of travel, which will be used to predict hot spots. The data can also be used by the courts as evidence when fare evaders are prosecuted.

29 July 2002: Single Contract Extensions cost increase

The cost of the Single Contract Extensions has increased. It is reported that the bids by the three major consortia are all over GBP100m more than the original estimates.

The government has been asked the to meet the increased costs. GMPTA believe that they have satisfied the government why the costs have increased and are waiting to meet new Transport Secretary Alistair Darling.

25 July 2002: Victoria Station Metrolink platform reopened

Following repairs to the Victoria Station roof, which dates from 1904, Metrolink have reopened the outbound or Bury platform ‘A’. Platform ‘B’ is again used for terminating trams from Bury when they are going out of service. Platform ‘C’ used by Manchester bound trams.

23 July 2002: San Francisco Muni Cars NOT for Metrolink

A correspondent in San Francisco wrote that the ex–Muni cars, previously listed as being for Manchester, were again up for auction sale on 25th May.

A senior Serco Metrolink representative, when asked about the ex–Muni vehicles at a meeting, said that work on the feasibility programme had ended and that it will now be up to the GMPTE to look for other options.

22 July 2002: New Metrolink ticket range

To complement the unlimited travel MetroMax day ticket, launched in March 1999, Metrolink have now introduced a new range of off–peak tickets. These are aimed at family–type groups of adults and children, small groups of adults travelling together and people using Metrolink for the weekend.

Groups of one, two or three children travelling with one or two adults can now buy one ticket, either for an off–peak return journey or as a MetroMax day or weekend ticket. The Family MetroMax fares represent great value at just GBP6 for a day or GBP10 for a weekend, with the off–peak Family Returns giving discounts of up to 45% on the cost of individual tickets.

The new ticket for up to four adults travelling together is called MetroMax 4 Adults and at just GBP10 for a day’s unlimited off–peak travel is aimed at people who might usually share a car or taxi.

The weekend tickets — which actually last from 6pm Friday evening to the last tram on Sunday — are also available for adults and children individually.

The buttons on the ticket machines now show the new ticket types, together with wording changes from Full and Half to Adult and Child.

Metrolink have also changed some fares that caused the ticket machines to run out of change. Some adult fares ending in 5pence have been rounded up and some child fares ending in 5pence have been rounded down. The concessionary single fare remains unchanged.

02 July 2002: Medieval moat unearthed by advanced works for the Ashton–under–Lyne line

During advanced construction works for the Metrolink underpass at Alan Turing Way evidence has been found of the survival of the remains of a medieval moated site. GMPTE has funded the thorough investigation of the site by the University of Manchester’s Archaeological Unit. This has unearthed the remains of the original moat, stone wall and timbers in their original location, all thought to be associated with the remains of Bradford Old Hall, dating back to the 14th Century.

David Power from the Archaeological Unit said: “This is a very exciting discovery which represents the unearthing of one of the lost moats of Manchester, which has only recently come to light during research into the area by the University’s Dr Peter Arrowsmith. This current development has provided the opportunity to investigate Manchester’s distant past in an area which has undergone extensive development over the centuries with the construction of cotton mills, canals and more recently the Alan Turing Way and, of course, Metrolink.”

Geoff Inskip, Metrolink Project Director, said: “The University are extremely pleased with their findings and we’re delighted to have been able to assist them. Metrolink is going to make a real difference to people living in East Manchester in the future, and its great that we have been able to maintain a record of these remains for posterity.”

The Ashton–under–Lyne line forms part of the Metrolink ‘single contract’ which GMPTE expects to award in Spring 2003. Work will continue on construction of the underpass following the Commonwealth Games.

02 July 2002: New tunnel for Airport Metrolink line

As part of a major new Ground Transport Interchange a new 75m tunnel section has been built at the Airport. This tunnel will carry the Metrolink line under the Airport access road and into a new platform area adjacent to the existing rail station.

With bus and coach bays situated alongside and a range of other passenger facilities such as airline check in desks, shops and information points, the new Interchange will become the focal point at the Airport for all modes of public transport.

When the new line is being constructed a further 150 metres of tunnel will be built under the Airport. Transport bosses visited the 75m tunnel prior to it being sealed until construction of the new line is complete.

The Ground Transport Interchange is being developed through a partnership of Manchester Airport PLC, GMPTE, Railtrack and the Strategic Rail Authority, with support from the UK Government and the European Union.

10 June 2002: Metrolink Celebrates the Golden Jubilee

Metrolink has marked Her Majesty the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations by naming tram 1010 Golden Jubilee 2002 with name plates made up in purple and gold, the official Golden Jubilee colours. This is the first time that Metrolink has used different colours for tram name plates. In addition the tram will feature the Golden Jubilee emblem on the front of each cab.

Tram 1010 was specially selected as the Queen travelled on it during her visit to Manchester for the official opening of the Metrolink system 10 years ago.

20 May 2002: Oldham and Rochdale Line — Preparation for Conversion

GMPTE has applied to government to close the Manchester to Oldham and Rochdale loop line as a conventional rail line. The application has been made now as the formal closure processes will take two years to complete. If a public inquiry into the application is required, it is likely to take place in September.

Rail services will only cease immediately before Metrolink conversion work begins. The earliest this will happen is May 2004. GMPTE will ensure that disruption to passengers is kept to a minimum during the transition. A replacement bus services will operate during the closure period. The length of time that the line will be out of operation and the exact nature of the temporary replacement services will form part of the single contract so details cannot be released until the contract is awarded in 2003.

All of the stations will reopen as Metrolink stops, with the exception of:

15 May 2002: San Francisco Muni cars for Metrolink

There are two ex–Muni cars in England, 1226 was taken to the Serco Test Centre at Derby and 1326 to Metrolink in Manchester. Cars 1254 and 1260 are still stored in San Francisco.

Two correspondents with San Francisco connections have sent me lists of ex–Muni cars bound for Manchester.

The following eleven are on both lists:–
1214, 1219, 1220, 1221, 1234, 1249, 1268, 1305, 1308, 1312, 1327
Another four numbers are only on one list.

It is possible that half the cars will be shipped complete with the others used to supply spare parts.

25 April 2002: Victoria Station roof repair in progress

Railtrack has now begun repair work on the roof over the Bury–bound Metrolink platform at Victoria station. Water leaking from this roof made the platform unsafe and it has been closed since last June.

The work should be complete in time the platform to reopen for the Commonwealth Games this summer.

GMPTE is also considering additional improvements that can be made to the environment of the Metrolink stop as part of these works, including better lighting and repainting some areas.

25 April 2002: A step closer to Metrolink in Stockport

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority have welcomed the results of the most recent phase of consultation on plans to extend Metrolink to Stockport. This concerned the Chestergate area and took place in February 2002.

This final exercise proposed a number of alterations and targeted around 250 businesses. Stockport residents were initially consulted on the plans in 1999, with further local consultations in the Chestergate vicinity in March 2001.

The responses to this latest phase of consultation have been extremely positive. An indication that residents and businesses in the area are pleased with the way that plans are progressing. Greater Manchester Newspapers Ltd whilst in favour of the scheme generally, have understandable concerns about parking for staff at the Stockport Express. GMPTA/E will work closely with them to mitigate the impact that the scheme will have on their parking.

GMPTA has also asked GMPTE to carry out further feasibility work into improving access to Stockport Rail Station from the bus station and proposed Metrolink terminus.

The next stage in bringing Metrolink to Stockport is to make an application to Government for a Transport and Works Act order for powers to build the line. This application is likely to be subject to a Public Inquiry which would be overseen by an independent inspector. It is hoped that this Public Inquiry could take place before the end of 2002. If a positive decision was reached quickly following the Public Inquiry it is still possible that the Stockport extension could form part of the Metrolink single contract expansion.

12 April 2002: Second Metrolink depot gets the go–ahead

Following the Public Inquiry held in July 2001 the Secretary of State for Transport has approved the GMPTE scheme for a second Metrolink depot.

The new depot will be built as part of the Single Contract Extensions, complementing the existing facility at Queens Road in North Manchester. It will provide routine maintenance and parking for the extra trams required for the enlarged system.

Near the Old Trafford Metrolink stop, the depot site will be bounded by Ayres Road, the Altrincham line and the former railway to Chorlton. The latter will be the route of the South Manchester and Airport line. Two road accesses will be provided and trams will be able to enter and leave the site from both Manchester and Altrincham. The depot itself will consist of tracks, a washer plant, a combined workshop and office area and parking spaces.

10 April 2002: Shudehill Interchange

Work has started on building the Metrolink platforms for the Shudehill bus–tram interchange in Manchester city centre.

When the interchange is completed, in addition to Metrolink it will cater for 2,000 buses a day. Also it will incorporate 803 car parking spaces to service the rebuilt city centre.

See also News 15 March 2001 Shudehill Interchange

06 April 2002: Metrolink 10th Anniversary

Metrolink’s first passenger service from Bury to Victoria started 10 years ago on Monday 6th April 1992.

On Friday morning, 5th April, travellers arriving at Manchester’s Victoria Station were greeted with music from a jazz band, souvenir gifts and commemorative tickets for a day’s free travel. A celebration continental breakfast was also served.

Metrolink invited John Henderson, a ten year annual season ticket holder, to represent of all its ‘10–year passengers’ and name tram 1011. His first journey, on the day the system began operating, was on 1011. He was a regular passenger on the Bury line from Whitefield to the city centre for some 40 years before Metrolink.

John Henderson said, “I decided to call it Superb because that seemed the most appropriate title. The last 10 years have been the best. The system is fabulous.”

The 27th April will see the 10th anniversary of street operation between Victoria and G Mex on the direct route.

03 April 2002: San Francisco trams for Manchester

A contributor to the Eurotrams E group wrote:–

“Ex–SFMR 1226 was trucked from Felixstowe, the North Sea port for much cargo that arrives in Great Britain [my household goods shipment from San Francisco last September included], directly to the Serco Groups Test Centre in Derby. There it is being ‘assessed’ for modifications required to put it into service in Manchester.”

A correspondent in San Francisco wrote on Friday 22 March 2002:–

“What is the status of the Muni cars in Manchester? The 1216 was to be the other car, do you know where it is? Do you think the adaptation will be successful?

I see five other cars listed as going to Manchester (1254, 1260, 1308,1312, and 1327). As of this weekend they are still sitting in the Geneva Upper Yard in San Francisco.”

Then on Tuesday 2 April 2002 he wrote:–

“Currently I count 11 cars which are listed as going to Manchester, with 2 not on any list.”

22 March 2002: Greater Manchester’s billion pound transport boost

During a visit to Manchester, Transport Minister John Spellar revealed that a billion pounds was promised for the long–term strategy to break the congestion stranglehold and bring public transport into the 21st century.

He was in the city to open the new Manchester Central Coach station, the rebuilt Chorlton Street bus station and to help celebrate Metrolink's 10th anniversary.

This long–term strategy is based on the recommendations of the South–East Manchester multi–modal study (SEMMS( which the government commissioned as part of its 10–year plan for transport. SEMMS looked at ways to improve all forms of transport in the area to reduce congestion, make roads safer and modernise public transport services.

The plan gives the go–ahead to a series of road schemes and rail initiatives as well as more than GBP30m investment in the creation of quality bus corridors. There is also extra cash to boost the Metrolink tram system above and beyond the existing Single Contract Extensions plan.

This new money will allow Metrolink to be extended beyond Stockport to serve Portwood, Bredbury, Romiley and Rose Hill, Marple — sharing the existing rail line beyond Romiley. A link between Stockport and the Wythenshawe loop on the South Manchester and Manchester Airport line is also proposed, using part of an existing freight line between New Mills and Heaton Mersey through the Mersey valley.

21 March 2002: Stops for Trafford Centre line

The Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) have listed eight potential stop sites on the Trafford Park and Trafford Centre line and are seeking outline planning permission from Trafford Council. Planners will have to consult local businesses along the route before any definite stops are finalised.

The eight sites proposed are:–

14 March 2002: Ashton Line bridge arrives early

Two hundred feet of steel beams now span the River Medlock. The 32–tonne beams which have been lifted into position will form a bridge across the river near Cambrian Street in Ancoats.

The bridge, which is just 400 yards from the stadium, will soon be completed. It will be used as a footbridge for the Commonwealth Games. Later it will carry the Metrolink extension to Ashton–under–Lyne.

A bridge under the nearby railway line is also under construction.

These bridges are advance works for Metrolink and are part of a GBP14m investment funded jointly by the PTA, English Partnerships, Northwest Development Agency, and Manchester City council.

15 February 2002: Metrolink double track for East Didsbury

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority today gave GMPTE the go ahead to apply to Government to build double tracks, rather than a single line, between School Lane and East Didsbury.

GMPTE already holds Transport and Works Act powers to build the extension to East Didsbury. When these were powers were sought it was only possible to plan for a single Metrolink track between School Lane and East Didsbury. Additional land has recently become available. GMPTE will now apply for planning permission and Transport and Works Act powers to lay two Metrolink tracks along this section of the route.

A double rather than single track line will improve punctuality and reliability of trams as well and reduce the possibility of delays on one line affecting the wider network. This is more important now that the Stockport extension is a strong possibility. GMPTE hope that permission to apply for Powers for the line to Stockport will soon be granted.

13 February 2002: Stockport Metrolink extension improvement announced

The Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE( have made further improvements to the plans for the East Didsbury and Stockport Metrolink extension. The revision followed consultation with businesses in the Chestergate area.

King Street, north of Chestergate, will be widened by using the footway on the west side of the bridge over the Mersey. An adjacent footbridge will be constructed to maintain footway facilities.

The new proposals mean that traffic will be able to use Chestergate as normal when Metrolink is in operation. As such, customers will be able to access businesses in the area exactly as they do at present. In addition, the proposals avoid the need to make highway alterations near the M60 motorway.

Residents and businesses in the Chestergate and East Brinksway area will receive a leaflet along with detailed plans explaining the changes to the scheme.

GMPTE is currently engaged in dialogue with Government over the ‘value for money’ case for the Stockport extension. It is hoped that permission will soon be granted for a formal Transport and Works Act application for powers to build the line. If the powers are obtained in time the Stockport extension could be built as part of the Single Contract Extensions.

08 February 2002: Metrolink Fare Review 2002

Metrolink fares revised from Monday 11th February 2002.

These are the first changes in peak hour fares for over two years and, for off peak fares, the first since March 1999.

Some ticket prices are increased, others remain the same and there are some reductions. The average increase is only 2.4% for tickets from Ticket Vending Machines, significantly less than inflation over the periods since the last increases.

The short distance City Centre single ticket becomes GBP0.50 and the return becomes GBP1.00. MetroMax the all day off peak ticket will be reduced from selected stops.

07 February 2002: New East Manchester Interchange — revised plans endorsed

On the 28th January 2002 Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) approved new plans for a GBP34 million public transport interchange at the proposed North Manchester Business Park in New East Manchester.

This interchange, a key element of the Business Park, will facilitate parallel running Metrolink and rail lines, with easy access to the A62 Quality Bus Corridor. Trams on the Oldham and Rochdale Metrolink line and trains on the faster link to Rochdale via Moston and Mills Hill will stop at the interchange. Eventually it could also become a bus interchange.

The North Manchester Business Park, comprising over 160 hectares of land, is mid way between the City Centre and the M60 Orbital Motorway. Phase 1 of the Business Park comprises the sites of Monsall Hospital, Moston Brook High school and adjacent former railway land. This is an area of over 32 hectares of land north of the proposed Manchester to Oldham/Rochdale Metrolink extension.

A new north–south spine road will cross the Metrolink and Railtrack lines at the interchange. This will provide a high quality gateway access from Oldham Road to phase one of the Business Park.

Up to 20,000 jobs will be created over the next 15 years at the Business Park. The interchange will make public transport a feasible and sustainable travel option for those who might otherwise use a car for journeys to work.

This interchange could, in time, add another 500,000 passenger journeys a year on the Oldham and Rochdale Metrolink line, as well as boosting bus and rail patronage. It is an example of the kind of creative thinking and planning needed to ensure economic regeneration in the area.

28 January 2002: Bury & Altrincham Lines Station Improvements — Phase Two

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) has approved a schedule of works for a GBP2.575 million second phase of upgrades on the Bury & Altrincham Metrolink lines. These upgrades, to the stops along the former British Rail lines, will improve passenger safety and security and provide a more pleasant and modern waiting environment.

The second phase will include an overall review of CCTV at all stops. Cycle facilities along the line will also be reviewed with cycle racks and lockers being installed at key stops.

Further possible improvements have been identified for stops in Bury including the provision of CCTV at Metrolink car parks and the possibility of an additional car park serving the Prestwich stop. Also Cornbrook Interchange may be opened as a stop for local passengers. These will be included if a funding package can be assembled with the relevant district councils.

GBP60,000 (as part of the GBP2.575m) has been released to fund detailed stop design work and develop a final programme of works. These will be presented to GMPTA for approval in March. Work is due to commence on site in Spring, with the entire programme of works continuing for approximately eighteen months.

19 & 25 January 2002: San Francisco tram in Manchester

In Southampton Eastern Docks, on the morning of 10 January 2002, San Francisco Municipal Railway unit 1326 A/B was seen still lashed down to a ‘Maffei’.

An articulated unit with overhead current collection and apparently not long out of use. It had destination boards showing at one end “L Taraval — Embarcadero Stn” and “L Taraval — 46th Ave — Zoo” at the other.

On 11 January 2002 it arrived, on a low loader, at Metrolink’s Queen’s Road Depot in Manchester. It was unloaded next day.

It was also seen from a passing tram on 13 January 2002.

02 January 2002: Transport chiefs ask the public about bikes on Metrolink

The Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA( has agreed to consult Metrolink users and cyclists whether bikes should be allowed on trams.

Councillor Roger Jones, Chair of the Authority, said: “At present, cyclists are not allowed to take their bikes on trams, both due to overcrowding in the peak periods and also because the trams would require significant modifications to allow them to accommodate bikes safely. Metrolink is not alone in this regard - no tram systems in United Kingdom currently allow the carriage of cycles.”

GMPTA wish to explore opportunities for improved integration between the tram and other modes of transport. Development of Metrolink Phase Three gives an opportunity to reconsider the no cycles on trams policy.

Public input will help to establish the demand for taking bikes on trams. Hopefully it will also give some useful feedback on how Metrolink users and cyclists would solve the practical difficulties. These include where bikes could be stored and if it would be feasible to allow bikes on trams at all times, problems which the light rail industry has not yet resolved.

The Metrolink Phase 3 contract already includes a number of conditions which take cycle users’ interests into account. These include provision for at least ten cycle stands as well as lockers for a minimum of five bikes at each of the new Metrolink stops, along with security provisions for the cycle parking area.

Consultation papers will be widely distributed to various public transport and cyclist user groups, as well as being made available at a number of key Metrolink stops and strategic points on the future Metrolink Phase 3 lines. The six week consultation period will take place from the end of January until mid March. The outcome will be reported to a meeting of the Authority, enabling members to finalise their views on the matter.


News 2002: top of page

This page was written by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association. Contact manwebm@lrta.org if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.