Public Inquiry starts for Metrolink Second City Centre Crossing

A public inquiry into the much needed Second City Centre Crossing for Manchester Metrolink has started – with opponents to the scheme arguing that it is only being considered to “introduce congestion charging by the back door”. Other objections heard so far have been from businesses situated on the proposed line who are concerned about the disruption it will cause and also oppose any fixtures being attached to their buildings.

With the major increase in services through the City Centre as the Metrolink system continues to expand it has been a long held ambition to have a second line across the City which would not only enable more services to be run but would also – hopefully – mean that if there was any disruption in the City Centre it would not bring the whole system to a complete standstill as it does now. The line would leave the current City Centre line at St Peter’s Square – which will see major redevelopment and a larger tram stop – travelling down Princess Street, Cross Street and Corporation Street before rejoining the current line
just before Victoria. A new stop will also be built at Exchange Square.

The incredible claim that the only reason they wish to construct the second city centre crossing is to introduce congestion charging by the back door was made on the second day of the inquiry by Farid Mazloomian during cross examination. Mr Mazloomian has a business on the proposed route and is obviously concerned that the construction of the line will have an adverse affect on his business. However his claim that because commuters had to pay for tram tickets and because the tram uses electricity this was in effect introducing congestion charging seems fanciful at best and it is something which was strenuously denied by Manchester City Council during the hearing.

It is hoped that if approved construction of the line would begin by the end of this year and take around three years to complete with trams running from 2016.

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14 Responses to Public Inquiry starts for Metrolink Second City Centre Crossing

  1. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Beware Manchester City Council looney left contingent could quite easily be taken in with such fanciful objections from certain sections of the community.

  2. Frank Gradwell says:

    The only thing that is incredible about this farce is that its promoters have the cheek to suggest that it will do anything at all to give more resilience to Metrolink traffic across the City Centre. Do they think we are completely gullible?

    CC2, or whatever acronym they are trying to use to make this pathetic response to a real problem fashionable, is a typically underfunded cheapskate Metrolink idea seeking to do a grown up job with toys from the kindergarten.

    The “new” route, is never more than a hundred yards from the existing city centre line, so serves no “new” markets at all.

    It shares a hundred yards at the Victoria end and almost a mile at the west side of the city with the mere two tracks which already carry all the existing services, so it provides absolutely no separation of traffic and leaves all the risk of breakdown delays exactly as they are.

    The second crossing should be engineered so that there are four tracks at and from Victoria to exit the station, one set as a present and the other via Chethams and, immediately, onto Deansgate so that the whole of the City Centre does benefit and so that Deansgate, Spinningfields, and Castlefield would be served, which neither the existing or the CC2 lines achieve.

    At Castlefield a new ramp should be built up onto the presently disused and derelict Cheshire Lines birdcage which would then permit a segregated four track line all the way to Pomona from Victoria. That, and nothing else, will do what the promters promise.

    That would give real resilience to the cross city proposal, no reliance on “CC1” at all, and a set of cross overs at the top of the Castlefield ramp could even provide cover for that length.

    I despair of Metrolink – we were the pioneers – but we have had twenty plus years to leaern better.

  3. David Holt says:

    Much of the construction disruption feared by the objectors will be due to the costly diversion of utilities’ plant in advance of tracklaying.
    As this is a second city crossing, it will by its nature have a diversionary route. That calls into question the need for 2CC services diversions. In any case, UK practitioners might one day adopt the techniques used elsewhere in the world for maintaining tram services over or alongside excavations, thus substantially reducing the need for advance services diversions. It should not therefore be difficult to justify substantially reducing the cost of 2CC installation by installing the new track above the existing street foundations, where the first-generation tram track was, or still is.
    To further exploit the benefits of minimised construction costs, the connections to the existing tramways could be made triangular so as to increase flexibility/redundancy – by means of a triangular junction at the bottom of Balloon Street, and an expanded triangular junction at the other end by going forward from Cross Street via Albert Square, Mount Street and Peter Street and then inbound towards Piccadilly. I suggested this in my 2CC “consultation” response.

  4. freel07 says:

    Frank, It does have the four tracks into the Victoria stop from the City! As for the Castlefield Viaduct TfGM do not own it and the BR Residuary Board have plans for it. It’s use would certainly shorten the bottle neck but remove it. The brick Cornbrook viaduct is not wide enough for 4 lines and Cornbrook stop. Some minor relief is planned at Deansgate Castlefield which will gain a bi-directional line and another platform face to assist in managing some of the delays. Also like it or not the line of sight operation between Old Trafford and the City will increase capacity beyond the present block signalled headways.

    I agree that in the ideal world a completely separate route would have been desirable but the alternatives explored including Deansgate were not found feasible alongside the City’s traffic management plans.

  5. Frank Gradwell says:

    Freel – Please check your facts.

    There are only two tracks exiting Victoria station up to Corporation St on the Metrolink consultation plan. The junction is on Corporation St. Accordingly, the capacity for congestion at Victoria is completely undiminished. There need to be four tracks from the platform itself.

    I was BRBR so I know that what you wrote is, like the above, also incorrect. The Birdcage is completely undevelopable. I did the title investigation that proved it. Its only legal use is as a railway viaduct.

    As for no room for four tracks on the high level viaduct. The CLC right through to BR ran four tracks – If Metrolink can’t, then that says more about their incapacity to perform than I can.

    I say again – the city needs a crossing sufficiently divers to serve a different market – but the bean counters currently outvote the strategists.

    What a way to design anything!

    • freel07 says:

      There are at least 3 tracks as far as the hole in the wall and four from there to Corporation Street so which plans you are looking at I don’t know. As for the CLC viaduct there was a news item about the development about 3 months ago on the BBC.

      Yes the CLC had 4 tracks on the viaduct but not station. Metrolink has an island platform at Cornbrook which occupies a fair width.

  6. Ken walker says:

    There was definitely no station at Cornbrook in railway days. The platform width at Cornbrook does seem generous for what is basically a station for interchange between the Eccles and Altrincham and Chorlton lines. Whether narrowing this platform would give enough room for a third line and platform I don’t know, possibly the third platform could be cantilevered out off the viaduct?

  7. Frank Gradwell says:

    I am looking at the published consultation plans. If there is additional capacity – good – but it still doesn’t correct the basic strategic flaw in not serving Deansgate

    As for the birdcage scheme – exactly the sort of nonsense we would have dismissed on sight. A walkway from nowhere to nowhere, with no access, and no viable means of long term sustainability. The birdcage is an island of BRBR structure linking only to Metrolink owned infrastucture at high level at each end.

    In 50 years time there will an inquest as to why the planners of the early 21st Century got it so wrong, but they won’t be around to answer!

    • Ken Walker says:

      I couldn’t agree more regarding the futility of the hanging gardens scheme. To suggest that Manchester is in anything like the same league as New York is a joke for a start. And as for loads of tourists being attracted to a line of allotments on a windswept birdcage bridge well away from any amenities – I just wonder what planet these people are on!

  8. Nigel Pennick says:

    It is surprising that at St Peter’s Square the agreement for the removal of the Manchester Cenotaph designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens – a significant monument, both architecturally and emotionally – along with the earlier cross by Temple Moore that commemorates the site of the former St Peter’s church there, was given such an easy passage by the Royal British Legion and the Church of England.

  9. The Eye says:

    The Cenotaph was never intended to placed in St Peters Sq. It was placed there temporarily whilst it’s intended home of Albert Sq was prepared. This never happened and it remained marooned on a roundabout for 90 odd years!! The cross will be returned once restored!

    • Nigel Pennick says:

      Indeed the juxtaposition of the cross and the cenotaph has been the cause of comments, but the cenotaph has been used in remembrance services since the 1920s. A plaque on the new tram station commemorating its site could record its former existence there. The Manchester Cenotaph is not the only Great War memorial to be moved; the war memorial in Cambridge has recently been moved after 90 years to widen the road junction. Sadly not for the trams which would have run there had the 1991 plans been carried out, and not either for southbound buses which have been rerouted by a new road.

      • David Holt says:

        For me the juxtaposition of the busy outbound tram platform with the Cenotaph has been something to cherish, encouraging far more people to contemplate and relate to the meaning of the Cenotaph than will be the case when it is moved to a more isolated setting.

  10. Ken Walker says:

    In the meantime, more disruption for Metrolink tram passengers due to negligent road vehicle drivers. Looking at the position of the damage to 3013 I think they would find it hard to blame this one on Metrolink!

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