Just when it looked as Metrolink construction work was coming to an end comes the news that the UK’s largest tramway network is to expand even further with full government approval now given to the Trafford Park line. Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, has granted the legal powers for the construction of the 3.4 mile line through the Transport and Works Act order which means work could start as soon as this winter.
The Trafford Park line will leave the current Metrolink network shortly after Pomona (on the Eccles line) and will see six new stops constructed at Wharfside, Imperial War Museum, Village, Parkway, EventCity and Trafford Centre. The route will see trams pass under the Trafford Road Bridge and run alongside the existing promenade next to Manchester Ship Canal before joining Trafford Wharf Road. The line then turns left onto Warren Bruce Road, right onto Village Way up to Parkway. It will then cross over the Bridgewater Ship Canal and turns right onto Barton Dock Road terminating outside the Trafford Centre.
Transport for Greater Manchester will now appoint a contractor to construct the line and it is hoped that initial works may get underway this winter with an opening date for passengers in 2020/21.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, said: “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.”
Sean Anstee, Trafford Council Leader, added: “This is great news for Trafford and the Greater Manchester area. It will bring countless opportunities for further investment in the borough and across the region. Excellent transport links are vital to make Greater Manchester as attractive as possible for businesses to establish themselves here and, with them, more jobs and apprenticeship opportunities. Trafford Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority has worked closely with TfGM to enable this proposal to come to fruition and I want to thank those whose hard work and effort has managed to achieve this wonderful opportunity for the borough.”
The new line will bring the network to more than 66 miles with 99 stops.