Tram-train strategy to be developed in Manchester

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.

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13 Responses to Tram-train strategy to be developed in Manchester

  1. Chris says:

    Excellent News. Tram-Train will see the role of Trams become much more main stream

  2. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Interesting hope it can be taken forwards soon. Surprised the line to Knutsford is not all the way to Chester Both are outside GM area. Other than that the lines chosen are largely what I would have expected.

  3. Steve Kemp says:

    It would be a good chance to get rid of the Class 142s at the same time. Not sure how Network Rail would fit into this?

    • Ken Walker says:

      I believe the 142s have to be removed from service by 2020 as they are not suitable for conversion to suit disability legislation. With the time it takes to get anything new (to the UK) up and running in this country they need to get cracking sooner rather than later if they want to get things sorted in time.

      • Colin Smith says:

        I was under the impression that all public transport had to be DDA compliant by 2016. Can’t recall where I heard that but it sticks in my mind.

  4. TM says:

    2020 for rail vehicles in accordance with Rail Vehicle Accessibility Requirements (RVAR) – Trams already fall under DDA requirements.

    • Colin Smith says:

      Thanks. I may have misunderstood while talking about or perusing a bus website!

      • Ken Walker says:

        I’m reading from a DfT document (, brought in in 2011, which in section 33 states “…The DDA of 2005 also enabled the setting of an end date, of no later than 1 January 2020, to be set by which time all rail vehicles must be accessible. For heavy rail vehicles the end date, as set in the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2008, is 1 January 2020”. Must admit I had originally thought it was 2017, then I heard something about 2020, but this is the only actual document I have seen. As it is legislation I’ve no doubt there will be other documents and probably all conflicting with each other!

        • TM says:

          The 2017 date is for DDA compliance to be satisfied by all buses; there is a phased requirement introduced from 2015 onwards depending upon the size of vehicles.

  5. Frank Gradwell says:

    We have perfectly good AC electric trains on the Hadfield route thank you! Its less than twnety years since the conversion from DC.

    They do not need replacing by miniature standee torture devices, and as for what would M5000s make of Dinting triangle – the mind boggles!

    • Ken Walker says:

      The conversion of the Hadfield line to AC actually took place about 1985 with class 303/304/305 units prior to the present class 323s.

      If these plans go ahead I can’t see how increased congestion on Metrolink in the city centre can be avoided.

    • TM says:

      M5000s already go around tighter radius curves than those at Dinting.

  6. Dan says:

    I was only thinking the same thing yesterday! These hybrid electric ‘tram trains’ would be ideally suited to replacing the predominantly Pacer worked local rail services around Manchester, especially to / from Wigan, Bolton & Marple / Hazel Grove. It would also allow improved cross-city journeys and reduce the bottleneck between Piccadilly and Deansgate, especially with this line being planned for use by Manchester Airport – Trans Pennine trains.

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