Manchester Metrolink’s new £350 million Trafford Park line (TPL) will start operating from April, subject to final testing and driver training.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham made the announcement to mark the start of tram testing on a section of the route to intu Trafford Centre, when he was joined by representatives from Trafford Council, Intu Trafford Centre, contractors M-PACT Thales and Transport for Greater Manchester for a short preview of the line,
The project was the first to benefit from the region’s Devolution Deal, signed by Greater Manchester leaders and the UK Government, in November 2014. Trafford Council also made a £20 million contribution.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “With Metrolink we are once again able to demonstrate a track record of delivering major schemes on budget and ahead of schedule.
“TPL was the first project to benefit from the devolution deal and is a shining example of what we can achieve with the right powers and funding.
“There is no doubt it is a blueprint for how Greater Manchester could run other transport systems in the future and represents a key step forward on our journey towards a more integrated, London-style transport system.”
The new line has been delivered seven months early, thanks to an established decade-long relationship between Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), contractor MPact Thales (MPT) and delivery partner WSP. It will have six new tram stops, bringing the total number of Metrolink stops to 99, and will offer sustainable transport links to some of Greater Manchester’s busiest visitor destinations including Old Trafford Football stadium, Imperial War Museum North, EventCity and intu Trafford Centre.
Reflecting on the significance of having Metrolink extending further into Trafford, Cllr Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council and Green City Region lead for GMCA said: “The opening of this new tram line will be hugely important for the local and regional economy. Trafford Park provides jobs for thousands of people as well as attracting millions of visitors a year who come to enjoy the many leisure opportunities that are available. That’s why it’s important that we will soon having trams linking some of the most iconic visitor destinations in the North West.
“Also, it’s just as important for our efforts to create a greener region as it will offer a real transport alternative to people who would otherwise be driving their cars to watch Manchester United play or visit places like the Imperial war Museum.”
Delivered by TfGM, design and construction partner MPT, a consortium of Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales, and with WSP as TfGM’s delivery partner, the Trafford Park line marks the last of Metrolink’s £2 billion, decade-long expansion programme that has seen new lines to East Didsbury, Ashton-under-Lyne, Rochdale via Oldham and Manchester Airport. It will also run through Trafford Park, Europe’s largest trading estate and home to more than 1,300 businesses employing over 35,000 people.