Transport for Greater Manchester have announced plans for the major redevelopment of the tramstop at Victoria which will see it completely redesigned to provide new platforms to increase capacity and allow more trams through Victoria in light of the additional services coming onto the network in the future. As a result of this work taking place it will be necessary for all tram movements through Victoria to take place on a single line of track and TfGM are proposing to close Victoria to passengers whilst this work is undertaken.
It is currently envisaged that the majority of work will be undertaken between January and September 2014 and Victoria tramstop would be closed for the duration of the work to allow as many trams through the area as possible. Currently as many as 30 trams an hour travel through Victoria and this service level will not be able to be carried on a single line of track. As a result of the closure of the stop it is proposed that there will be changes to the service operated and it is hoped these will be approved by the TfGM Committee later this month.
The changes will include:
* Bury-Altrincham direct service would continue to operate as normal but all services would be formed of double trams (instead of the 6 out of 10 diagrams currently scheduled for double units)
* A shuttle tram service will run Bury-Abraham Moss running every 12 minutes. This will cater for the high number of local journeys on the Bury line – said to be a third of all journeys.
* A shuttle bus service will run Abraham Moss-Queens Road-Victoria-Shudehill-Piccadilly for passengers heading to and from Piccadilly.
* Trams on the East Manchester Line to Droylsden will run to and from Eccles instead of Bury. These will continue to operate at a 12 minute frequency.
* The Rochdale-East Didsbury service (currently only running to St Werburgh’s Road) will continue to operate every 12 minutes via Victoria.
Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink Director, said: “The transformation of Victoria station is a fantastic project and Metrolink passengers are going to benefit from it greatly. We’ve arranged for the work to the Metrolink stop and tracks through Victoria to be done quickly and efficiently in parallel with the station’s overall upgrade to minimise the long term disruption and to ensure passengers can benefit from it as soon as possible. With that comes the need to run trams on a single line of track through Victoria, which affects how many trams we can physically run through it. We’ve looked at the implications of that very closely and the proposals we’re putting forward are, on balance, the most effective, the safest and the least disruptive and also mirror the journey demands we’ve monitored on the network. By closing the stop to passengers, we can run more services through Victoria on the single line but it’s also safer, given the nature of the work being done.”
During the work any passengers requiring Victoria are advised to catch the tram to Shudehill and then complete their journey the short distance by foot. When there are major events at the Manchester Arena additional measures will be put in place to cater for demand. Shudehill will also be fitted with extra ticket machines and signage with staff on hand at the busiest times to advise passengers.
The whole of Manchester Victoria is due for redevelopment in the near future and the chance is being taken to improve the Metrolink lines and platforms through the area at the same time. Although there will be significant disruption for passengers during the works it is pleasing to note that the line will remain open for the majority of the time so through journeys from Bury and Rochdale to the City Centre and beyond can continue to be taken.