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Metrolink Stops

When Metrolink was being planned, in the 1980s, low floor technology was in its early stages and would cost more than a high floor design. The original six line plan was to convert five rail lines, build along a disused rail line to East Didsbury and the short City Centre sections. It was decided to use double ended high floor cars which match British main line platform height.

Stops are not staffed, either on segregated or street running sections. There are at least two Ticket Vending Machines, more TVM information below. Help/emergency call points enable passengers to speak to control. A staff telephone is also provided. Route maps and general information are provided on each platform.

Control can make passenger announcements over the public address system when services are disrupted. The closed circuit television (CCTV) enables control staff to see what is happening on the stops. For public and staff safety the images are continuously recorded.

Altrincham and Bury lines

On former railway stations; the lighting was upgraded, also electrical and telecommunications wiring was completely renewed. Where existing station buildings could not be modified, prefabricated equipment rooms were provided. Station canopies matching those at city centre stops were provided where required.

Platforms now have level boarding with a minimum gap over the length of a double tram. Most of the platform edge rebuilding was done as part of the 2007 upgrade works. Some were done in previous upgrade work; however these each took several weeks as work was only possible during the night when trams were not running.

Platform edges designed for main line train operation can give vertical and horizontal gaps up to 200mm from tram floor level. To reduce phase one conversion costs, each platform had an 8m long level access zone provided for the centre doors (those on each side of the articulation) of a single tram.

Eccles line and Phase 3

All stops have full length and height platforms. These are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible and to provide the smallest possible barrier to pedestrian and vehicle circulation. For street running sections, stops are out of the flow of traffic.

Piccadilly Gardens

When first built this island platform stop had ramps at each end which gave a slight step down from the front door of all trams and the back door of the second tram in a double unit. During the 2009 city centre upgrade blockade, the track and overhead line on the bus station side were realigned and the platform widened from 4.1 to 6 metres. Full, Disability Discrimination Act compliant, level access has been provided throughout. Platform equipment has been rationalised and new canopies have been installed providing better shelter for even more people.

Profiled Platforms

These were designed for city centre stops where space is limited. High Street and Market Street profiled platforms were replaced by the present Market Street stop in 1998. St. Peter’s Square platforms were made level access throughout during the 2009 track upgrades blockade. Mosley Street closed in 2013.

For a single tram the centre doors, those on each side of the articulation, had level access. There was a slight step down from the other doors. A retractable step on the second of two coupled units (T68/phase 1) operated automatically with all doors, this enabled passengers to step down to the lower part of the profiled platform. Ramps with a nominal 1:20 gradient connected high, low and street levels. The street tracks alongside platforms were constructed 150mm lower than existing street level, thus the low level platforms were about 300mm above existing pavement level.

Ticket Vending Machines

GMPTE appointed the international company Scheidt & Bachmann to design, build and install more than 200 new state–of–the–art touch–screen ticket vending machines on the Metrolink network as part of a GBP 5.4 million project.

Metrolink’s old TVMs have been replaced by 115 new touch–screen machines, with more machines at busier stops. Further TVMs are installed at stops on the new lines shortly before they open. They offer a choice of English, French, German, Spanish or Polish languages.

One day travel tickets available include single and return tickets for both peak and off-peak travel; also various Saver Tickets covering travel in the Greater Manchester area. Season tickets can be renewed, using a current Travel Club ID card; the card number must be entered correctly for the ticket to be valid. Tickets are “railway type” credit card size. Payment can be made using 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence coins; £1 and £2 coins or £5, £10 and £20 notes or debit/credit cards.

Metrolink’s new ticket machines can, in future, be upgraded to work in an ITSO Smart Card environment. They will then be capable of accepting pay–as–you–go travel cards, if introduced in Greater Manchester. This would be similar to the Oyster card in London.

Original Altrincham & Bury lines and City Centre machines

Two TVMs were installed in the former booking office lobbies with an additional machine on busy platforms. They had a push button panel with four columns of six blue destination buttons with a column containing four yellow and one white ticket types plus a red cancel button. The Metrolink stops were grouped into three zones on each of the Altrincham and Bury lines with another zone in the City Centre. There were also three zones for tickets to main line stations in the Greater Manchester area. Passengers had to consult nearby information to see which zone contained their destination. The machines were cash only, accepting 5, 10, 20, 50 pence and one pound coins. Change was given if available. Tickets were printed on paper from a roll and then cut off.

Eccles line and modified original machines.

The Eccles line TVMs had a touch button panel which had seven columns of eleven yellow destination buttons. There were another two columns for white ticket type buttons, including a red cancel button. These machines accepted 5, 10, 20, 50 pence also one and two pound coins. In addition some machines could accept notes. Change was given if available. Tickets were printed on paper from a roll and then cut off. Similar whole new front panels were provided for the original TVMs. A small LCD screen showed transaction stages on the original, modified and Eccles line TVMs.

Stops: top of page

This page was written by Tony Williams. Contact if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.