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Manchester Metrolink News 2011

2 December 2011: Tram Management System
30 September 2011: Early retirement for first Metrolink trams
2 August 2011: Metrolink, operating company has a new owner
8 July 2011: Kingsway Business Park
8 July 2011: Rochdale Metrolink town centre
7 July 2011: Chorlton Metrolink line opens
9 June 2011: Second Cross City Line Consultation
18 April 2011: Abraham Moss Metrolink stop
13 April 2011: Greater Manchester’s Local Transport Plan
6 April 2011: Manchester City Region Governance
25 January 2011: Oldham Mumps southern bridge removed
7 January 2011: Rochdale Viaduct Construction


2 December 2011: Tram Management System

A new Tram Management System (TMS) is required to increase network capacity for the new extensions also to provide both passenger and operational benefits. This TMS is based on line of sight operation, however, it is different from the present line of sight in the city centre.

To switch the system switch over all at once would require Metrolink to be shut down for a considerable period to implement the changes and also to train all the drivers, control room staff and maintainers.

Transition from the existing signalling is being staged. This requires integration with both existing fixed block 2 aspect signalling and the original city centre line of sight system. A custom designed arrangement is required at each interface between old and new systems. Technical difficulties with this work have slowed the TMS introduction, delaying new line openings. Eventually the whole network will be converted to TMS.

30 September 2011: Early retirement for first Metrolink trams

On 16 September, the TfGMC considered a report on Metrolink fleet strategy. This proposed an accelerated replacement of T68 trams with new M5000 trams, leading to a more reliable service and reduced fleet maintenance costs.

On 30 September, the GMCA agreed to order 12 more M5000s which will replace some of the original Metrolink T68s that have been in service since the network opened in 1992.

A mixture of Minor Works funding previously approved for tram refurbishment costs, existing finance cost reserves and incremental prudential borrowings will be used to pay for these new trams.

2 August 2011: Metrolink, operating company has a new owner

Stagecoach Group plc completed the sale of its subsidiary, Stagecoach Metrolink Limited to RATP Dev UK on 1st August. RATP Dev UK is a a wholly owned subsidiary of RATP Développement, a part of the French state–owned company which runs the Paris Metro.

Stagecoach Metrolink employees remain employees of the same legal entity except its name has changed to Metrolink RATP Dev Limited.

Metrolink will continue to be owned by Transport for Greater Manchester.

8 July 2011: Kingsway Business Park

Transport for Greater Manchester’s Capital Projects and Policy subcommittee members have agreed a funding package with Rochdale MBC to provide the GBP 2.5 million Kingsway stop. It will now be built as part of the phase 3a extension.

Kingsway Business Park is a key strategic objective for Rochdale MBC and has regional significance. It is expected to support around 7,000 jobs across a range of industries and providing a Metrolink stop is critical to maximising access to the site.

8 July 2011: Rochdale Metrolink town centre

Transport for Greater Manchester’s Capital Projects and Policy subcommittee Members have agreed changes to the town centre line that will avoid a five–month delay and substantial additional costs.

The original plan was for a double track down Drake Street which then turned into Smith Street reaching the terminal Rochdale Town Centre stop alongside the existing bus station.

A review of the designs found that a double track over the Drake Street and Smith Street junction would require significant structural improvements, or replacement of, Wellington Bridge over the River Roch. There will be a short single track section through the junction of these two streets before returning to two tracks on the approach to the town centre stop.

This change will have no impact on the turnaround time for trams adding no more than three seconds per tram to journey times.

7 July 2011: Chorlton Metrolink line opens

Metrolink’s new line from Trafford Bar to St. Werburgh’s Road in Chorlton opened on Thursday 7 July 2011. This follows successful completion of comprehensive testing and commissioning work.

Initial South Manchester line services will be every:-

The journey time from St. Werburgh’s Road to St. Peter’s Square is approximately 15 minutes.

09 June 2011: Second Cross City Line Consultation

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has launched a public consultation on proposals for a second cross city line, a vital element of the current Metrolink expansion. TfGM has worked closely with Manchester City Council to ensure the route fits the Council’s regeneration aspirations for St Peter’s Square.

Manchester City Council, as planning authority, is also inviting views on related proposals to sensitively relocate the Cenotaph within St Peter’s Square to provide a location better suited to quiet contemplation and with fewer space constraints for memorial events.

The proposed line route will share the existing tracks down the ramp alongside Manchester Central, run through St. Peter’s Square where the stop will be relocated and enlarged, then along Princess Street, Cross Street and Corporation Street with a new stop at Exchange Square and re–join the existing Metrolink line just outside Victoria Station where the stop will be enhanced.

18 April 2011: Abraham Moss Metrolink stop

This new stop opened on Monday 18 April. About 250 metres from Woodlands Road stop, it has much better access to the local area including Abraham Moss High School and Leisure Centre.

To maintain Bury line service reliability, trams will call at Woodlands Road between 10:00 and 16:00 only on Monday to Friday. Outside these hours and at weekends, passengers who usually use the Woodlands Roads stop will need to use Abraham Moss.

13 April 2011: Greater Manchester’s Local Transport Plan

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee have delivered their Local Transport Plan for the next 15 years.

The third of its kind, the plan covers the strategic development of Greater Manchester’s transport network, together with four–year delivery plans for each of the ten Local Authority areas.

The detailed publication spans 189 pages and is available online at LTP3, along with a summary version of the strategy and a library of supporting documents.

6 April 2011: Manchester City Region Governance

The inaugural meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) took place on Friday 1 April 2011. It is a new statutory body which reflects the fact that Greater Manchester has a single labour market and a cross-party commitment to a single policy for growth.

Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (TfGMC) held its inaugural meeting on Monday 4 April 2011. It is a joint committee of the new Combined Authority and the ten district authorities of Greater Manchester.

TfGMC will undertake much of the work previously undertaken by the GMITA and will advise the Combined Authority on transport policy. GMPTE has also changed its name to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority will not replace the 10 local authorities, but will comprise one member from each and takes the work of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities to the next level.

25 January 2011: Oldham Mumps southern bridge removed

The southern bridge over the Oldham Mumps roundabout has been removed. For safety reasons the road under this bridge was closed from 19:00 on Friday 21 January to early Monday 24 January, with local traffic diversions. Work began on Friday night and continued throughout the weekend as the bridge was gradually dismantled during Saturday and Sunday.

Both abutments have been removed. Sufficient soil has also been removed from behind the southern abutment to ensure stability of the remaining embankment, on which part of the old Mumps Station stood.

Further ground will be removed in due course; making Metrolink’s vertical alignment similar to that of Oldham Way between Mumps roundabout and the footbridge (over Oldham Way and the tracks)

Metrolink will open to the Oldham Mumps phase 3a temporary stop during autumn 2011. Beyond this, at ground level, it will have signal controlled level crossings of the existing highway. The section from Mumps to Rochdale Railway Station opening during spring 2012.

7 January 2011: Rochdale Viaduct Construction

A new flyover to take Metrolink over the Manchester–Leeds railway is is being built, within existing railway land, between the two existing bridges over Milnrow Road.

With the new east and west abutments sufficiently prepared, a 72 hour possession of the Network Rail Calder Valley lines on 1st to 3rd January, enabled the 52 metre long bridge section to be put in place. A major construction project, which involved 400 tonnes of steel, over 5000 bolts and a 1000 tonne ‘super lift’. There will be further work throughout January and February to complete this installation.

A new earth embankment, just to the north of the former loop line track, will take Metrolink down to the eastern bridge over Milnrow Road and towards Newbold. Also to the west, a new concrete viaduct will ramp down onto a former loop line track bed, north of the present rail line towards Leeds.


News 2011: 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.