Manchester Metrolink – Second City Crossing
Commuters in Manchester are now able to enjoy the largest light rail system in the UK after the completion of Metrolink’s Second City Crossing. The new line opened on Sunday 26th February and runs right through the heart of Manchester city centre.
The Second City Crossing offers new links and more frequent trams through Manchester city centre, as well as improved service reliability and greater operational flexibility. It runs from the transformed Deansgate-Castlefield stop to a major new stop at St Peter’s Square along Cross Street to stops at Exchange Square and Victoria.
In total 1.3km of track has been added to a network now boasting 93 stops with over 60 miles of track and a record-breaking 37 million passengers a year.
The Second City Crossing is the final piece in Metrolink’s £1.5bn ‘big bang’ expansion programme – which has seen extensions to MediaCityUK, East Didsbury, Rochdale via Oldham, Ashton and Manchester Airport. The Deansgate-Castlefield and Victoria stops have also been upgraded in readiness to handle more services and more customers using the network.
Ahead of the first trip on the new line, Greater Manchester Mayor Tony Lloyd said:
“Metrolink is one of Greater Manchester’s great success stories, driving urban regeneration and now hosting some 37 million journeys a year across the city region.
“It’s testament to Greater Manchester’s drive and ability to work together that we’ve secured funding to treble the size of the tram network to become the largest in the UK. The Second City Crossing will play a key role in helping even more people get to work, shopping, leisure and culture destinations right across the 93-stop network.”
Construction on the crossing finished late last year and has been followed by a rigorous testing and commissioning process, including driver training.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) owns the Metrolink network and has overseen the expansion works. TfGM Metrolink Director, Peter Cushing, added:
“I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved with our partners over the last eight years as we’ve expanded the Metrolink network to become the largest light rail system in the UK.
“The Second City Crossing opening is the culmination of years of hard work to complete the Phase 3 big bang expansion, and it would not have been possible without the hard work of my team, contractors MPT and operator RATP Dev, helping to make this a reality.”
The £1.5bn expansion programme originally began in 2009 with a new line being built to East Didsbury. The overall investment package implemented in the eight years since has driven economic growth and created an estimated 21,000 new jobs.
The Second City Crossing is also part of the Grow project, which is aimed at investing in a number of infrastructure improvements including bus priority measures, six new and better cycle routes running into Manchester and major rail improvements.
Construction work is now under way on a new Metrolink line through Trafford Park to the Trafford Centre. Find out more at http://transformationinformation.co.uk/.