CHRIS Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, has today given approval to extend Greater Manchester’s Metrolink service with a new 3.4 mile line in Trafford Park.
Metrolink has tripled in size in recent years as part of a £1.5 billion expansion, making it the largest light rail network in the UK
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will shortly appoint a contractor having consulted on plans during a twelve-week public consultation in summer 2014, with 89% of comments in favour of the new line.
Set to increase the size of the Metrolink network to more than 66 miles (106.5km), the Trafford Park line will branch off from the existing Pomona stop and call at six new tram destinations: Wharfside, Imperial War Museum, Village, Parkway, EventCity and the Trafford Centre.
Primarily avoiding roads for faster journeys, it will pass under the Trafford Road Bridge and run alongside the existing promenade next to Manchester Ship Canal before joining Trafford Wharf Road. The route will turn left onto Warren Bruce Road and then bear to the right onto Village Way up to Parkway; before crossing over the Bridgewater Ship Canal, turning right onto Barton Dock Road and terminating outside the intu Trafford Centre.
The Trafford Park line comes via a £350 million funding package, which has been secured by Greater Manchester Combined Authority through the 'earn back' funding arrangement as part of the Greater Manchester devolution deal.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, welcomed the news, saying: “Today’s announcement is another big step forward for Greater Manchester. I’m delighted that our long held ambition to build a new Metrolink line through Trafford Park is now about to become a reality.
“Our new Trafford Park line will connect people across Greater Manchester to thousands of new job opportunities as well as offering fast, frequent and sustainable links to some of our city-region’s greatest sporting and cultural venues, not to mention the Trafford Centre.
“This new line will boost our economy and bring us closer to our goal of a world class transport system for Greater Manchester. I look forward to seeing the first shovel in the ground this winter.”
Trafford Park is the largest major employment zone in Greater Manchester outside the city centre and is home to over 1,300 businesses and more than 33,000 jobs - with employees travelling from across Greater Manchester and further afield.