Councillors in Greater Manchester have backed plans to develop a tram-train strategy in the region which could see six current heavy rail lines converted to tram-train operation. The Transport for Greater Manchester Committee Capital Projects and Policy Sub-committee approved a report last week which outlined the proposals and they will now look into more detail at how they can be put into practice.
The six routes identified are:
Manchester-Marple via Bredbury
Manchester-East Didsbury-Hazel Grove
A tram-train system would enable more frequent services to be operated and would provide better and more frequent access to the city centre and better connections with other public transport services. The services would also be financially self-sustaining as the ongoing costs would be more than met by fare revenue.
Cllr Andrew Fender, TfGM Committee Chair, said: “I am delighted that clear progress has been made with the identification of the potential for tram-train in Greater Manchester. Track-sharing between heavy and light rail trains with street-running capability is already well established in continental Europe, especially in Germany. Not only are there numerous benefits to commuters, such as increased capacity and frequency and better inner-city connectivity, but tram-trains also have the potential to be financially self-sustaining. At this point however, tram-train very much remains a long-term project for Greater Manchester, making it difficult to identify potential implementation dates or funding.”
It can only be hoped that if these tram-train plans do go ahead it doesn’t add even more congestion to the Manchester Metrolink network in the city centre and out towards Cornbrook.