Sunday 29th January will see the introduction of a revised timetable on Manchester Metrolink which will see trams from Manchester Airport extended from Deansgate-Castlefield through to Victoria (except for the early bird services). This will not only provide an extra service through the city centre – running via 2CC – but will also give extra operational flexibility at Deansgate-Castlefield leaving the centre platform free at all times.
Operational flexibility is one of the key aspects of the new timetable as the centre platform at Victoria will be available for regular use – with the Airport service set to terminate there – whilst the second platform at Altrincham will be brought into regular operation. The idea behind this is to improve reliability although passengers are being advised they will need to double-check which platform their service will be departing from.
Other changes will see services from MediaCityUK running through to Etihad Campus (instead of terminating at Piccadilly) whilst the current Altrincham to Etihad Campus service will now only run Altrincham to Piccadilly. There will also be an extension of Sunday services by approximately an hour into the evening.
Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “More and more people continue to travel on Metrolink and this is a really important service pattern change that is focused on delivering improvements for our customers. Metrolink connects large parts of the city region, providing vital links across our towns and cities and the introduction of later running trams on Sundays will be a boost to our night time economy and the many workers and revellers who support it. This, coupled with the fact that we’re extending services from the airport to Victoria – which will provide better connections and additional capacity through the regional centre – will undoubtedly improve our customers’ journey and experience of Metrolink. This is especially significant as this has only been made possible by bringing into service the third line through Victoria; the final piece of the jigsaw funded by Metrolink’s remarkable £1.5bn ‘big bang’ programme of extensions and upgrades.”
The additional double trams introduced on the Altrincham and Bury lines at the end of last year will also continue to operate whilst trams will continue to operate at the same 6 and 12 minute frequencies as now. In addition the network map is set to be redesigned with the reintroduction of coloured lines as well as numbered flags.
Aline Frantzen, Managing Director of KeolisAmey Metrolink, said: “Our mission is to put customers at the heart of everything we do, to keep Greater Manchester moving and growing every day. To achieve that, we need to listen to what our customers are telling us and we’ve done exactly that by responding to the feedback we’ve had from people about wanting to be brought closer to where they want to go, the need for more space on trams for people – particularly travelling through the city – and services stopping short. Our new pattern should mean our services are more consistent and reliable for customers and this was our commitment to the people of Greater Manchester and TfGM when we began operating the network for them.”