Metrolink Second City Crossing work to commence in January

It has been confirmed that initial construction work on the Manchester Metrolink Second City Crossing (2CC) is to start in January 2014. The new line will provide greater capacity for Metrolink through Manchester city centre and will also be very useful at times of disruption.

The line will be start in Lower Mosley Street before running through the new St Peter’s Square and then onto Princess Street. It will then run along Cross Street and Corporation Street before rejoining the current Metrolink network just outside Victoria Station. A New stop will be built at Exchange Square and the existing stop at St Peter’s Square will be remodelled.

The first work will involve utility diversions and will commence on Monday 6th January. This will see gas pipes and electricity and phone cables moved away from the alignment of the tramway on Corporation Street between Withy Grove and Market Street. There will be localised road closures although access to businesses will be maintained at all times. In addition to the works on Corporation Street a number of work sites will be set up in the St Peter’s Square area.

Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “This will be the starter pistol for a marathon civil engineering project that is an essential part of the Metrolink expansion. The Second City Crossing (2CC) will increase the capacity, flexibility and reliability of all of the network’s new lines and enable them to operate to their fullest. As such, it will play a vital role in helping to build a strong and prosperous economy for Greater Manchester.”

The project should be completed by 2017, including remodelled stops at Deansgate-Castlefield and Victoria, although it is hoped that, subject to ERDF funding, the section to Exchange Square could be completed by 2015.

Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink Director, said: “It’s a significant piece of work and not without its challenges, but we have learnt a huge amount successfully delivering new street-running lines to Ashton, Oldham and Rochdale town centres and to Wythenshawe and Manchester Airport and we will be drawing on this experience to keep disruption to an absolute minimum. We have also established strong links with businesses in the city and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so to get in touch so we can keep them up to speed over the life of this project and beyond.”

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23 Responses to Metrolink Second City Crossing work to commence in January

  1. Frank Gradwell says:

    I’m sorry but this is a simple matter of PR being used to cover a shocking lack of foresight that will blight Manchester for years.

    The congestion that is the problem now will remain all the way from St Peter’s Square to Cornbrook.

    CC2 should have run down Deansgate to the Beetham Tower, climbed up to and used the derelict CLC birdcage and then have a three or four track section with bi-di running to deal with the periods of maximum traffic.

    It wouldn’t have been cheap – but it would have been strategic – but we don’t do that in the UK anymore.

    • David M says:

      The cost of making the birdcage suitable for running trams over would be astronomical. There is absolutely no way you could run trams over that without it falling to pieces. It’s not going to start falling to bits in any great hurry if it’s left alone, but start messing with it (not to mention having 40t of tram run over it every 30s or so, and you’d effectively have to demolish it and rebuild it from scratch. With line-of-sight running, you can (theoretically) have trams following each other only a few metres apart & 3 tracks running up the ramp to Deansgate, & double the platforms at St. Peter’s Square, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

    • Chris Davies says:

      Frank, Running a line along deansgate is not an option at all. It is all well to say build it etc. However major work would need to be done and new buildings have been built round that area. The logical option is the one used now. Rebuilding St. Peters Square and Victoria to handle the new crossing and increase in trams. St peters will be fully pedestrianised once this is done. I can also tell you that a few options were considered about where to build a second crossing. Once it is built and Deansgate Castlefield is remodelled it will help give the system more resilliance than it currently has now.

  2. tony stevenson says:

    Three years + to lay a short length of tram line. This disgraceful and I expect it will cost a fortune, its time we got a grip on this or future tramway developments in other parts of the country will not happen, Blackpool North Station being a prime example. Tony Stevenson.

  3. Clifford Stead says:

    Great to see this project approved and getting underway, however I agree with Frank above that it simply will not stop the issue of congestion through to Cornbrook. The opening of the Airport and Trafford lines will make the situation far worse.

  4. Jamie Guest says:

    3 years for a short length of route does seem a little bit excessive. Whle systems were built in less time in the early 1900’s. Often 12 months from start of work to trams running.


    • Watcherzero says:

      Its being built in sections so that roads can remain open, if it was built all in one go traffic across the city centre would be paralysed for months.

  5. Mel. Reuben says:

    It amazes me how TfGM manages to find the money to spread its tentacles when over the Pennines in Leeds we are having a Trolleybus system forced on us instead of a Supertram by Metro, Leeds City Council and The DfT, which could take until 2018 to build. I am confused?

  6. Frank Gradwell says:

    The birdcage was built to take steam trains with axle loads of tens of tons and their trains – not puny toy like trams. I have no doubt that the decking beams would need 100% replacement, but the pillars and main structure are just as sound as the adjacent birdcage now in use by Metrolink.

    Please don’t believe the propagand you are fed. .

    This is a cheap and nasty attempt to solve a problem and failure will cost the city for years – but the politicians won’t mind – they’ll be collecting their pensions then!

    • Jamie Guest says:

      The deck beam replacement is exactly what is happenning on the Borders Railway where rivets are being drilled out, new beams inserted and rivets replaced by bolts but leaving the side beams intact. This is happenningon several of the original bridges that are being reused.


  7. Frank Gradwell says:

    Why on earth should the trolleybus not be given a chance to be compared.

    the advantages of emission free – at the point of use – trnasport apply just as much to the trackless vehicle as to the tram, but the cost of construction, ability to avoid congestion by overtaking – especially by using battery technology make the trolleybus a fearsome competitor to the inflexible high capital cost tram.

    Sorry – but the real world beckons.

    • roger woodhead says:

      Sorry Frank, but a trolleybus cannot overtake another trolleybus. As public bus services are privatised, do you really think Stagecoach and others would withdraw there competing bus services because the PTE wants to run trolleys? The trams are on Ashton New Road, Stagecoach have not reduced the frequency of the 216 which competes with the tram in terms of seating capacity, frequency and fares, but the tram is used for at least the smoother ride you get! though I suspect by fewer people than the PTE hoped.

  8. John Stewart says:

    Frank is quite right. Apart from capacity issues, the dependence on a single critical route in the City Centre is what paralyses tramway systems in the event of a blockage – just like when Metrolink collapses when a depot exit fails. The ideal arrangement is that in Melbourne where multiple north-south and east west routes on the gridiron street pattern make either planned or emergency diversions simple. (Just don’t introduce the hook turns for motorists!)

    I’m not qualified to make a judgement on the “Birdcage” viaduct issue, but in view of the presumably economic re-deckings for the heavier loadings as undertaken on the Welsh Highland and the Borders Railway, re-decking for lighter loadings should not be that difficult. Whatever alignment is chosen, an independent route from Victoria to Cornbrook would provide both insurance against disruption and bring the benefits of the tram system to a wider area.

    There are also public realm advantages. It would solve the problem of the eyesore that is the current viaduct and it would prevent St. Peter’s Square becoming more of a tram station than a public square. Despite the clever illustrations in the TfGM publicity, this is what I fear will be the outcome.

  9. Frank Gradwell says:

    I am qualified to comment on the former CLC birdcage.

    In a previous life I was responsible for it and many more BRBR liabilities.

    It isn’t going to fall down in any of our lifetimes – believe me!

  10. David Holt says:

    Trolleybuses lack one crucial attribute – the shiny steel rails which are key to the tram’s success.

  11. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    The trolleybus could be used on some of the other corridors of Manchester which would be unsuitable for a tram such as Wilmslow Road and Hyde Road. One form of transport is never the answer to all applications and different forms should be used in situations where they have distinct advantages.

    • roger woodhead says:

      Ralph read what Pilcher had to say to the City Council in 1936/7, nothings changed! See you at the next meeting and refute me if you can!

  12. Liam says:

    The massive issue lies in the fact that they are expecting so much movement from computer systems in a sense that points and signals must be so complex as to know the route, destinations, lengths of trams, then they have to change points up to every 30 seconds, etc etc etc. A repetitive problem at Cornbrook, which can only get more and more complicated the more routes we expect to use it.

    Simple solution – stop relying on one section of line to do everything and build new crossings. Yes of course it will be more costly in the long run, but look at the London Underground – almost all lines are segregated from one another and it works massively more reliably than a system that we have that per route is 1. Massively less frequent, 2. Massively less sizeable and 3. Massively underfunded (I’m not even going to start about the North/South divide that everyone can see).

    Why couldn’t we have just had that bloody underground system that would have been faster and more reliable? Oh thats it, they’d rather fund the capitals already perfect transport system and leave us with 30 year old rolling stock and a failing light-rail system that has more bad said about it than the devil himself… *facepalm*

    • Ken Walker says:

      Unfortunately we’ve got what you get when systems are designed down to a budget instead of being designed up to a standard. And of course, as far as politicians are concerned the world ends once you get north of Watford.

    • Chris says:

      What about the District, Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City? All share the inner circle, and with automatic train operation train frequencies will substantially increase. It’s not perfect, but much of that is down to the age of the signalling. The idea that tram lines need to be segregated is not borne out by either history or current practice.

  13. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    I agree about the north south divide on funding but in respect of an underground the geology under Manchester is solid rock gritstone and coal etc. In London it is blue clay much easier and cheaper to tunnel through. The cost of tunnelling under Manchester would have bee very difficult.
    However the big problem still remains the Cornbrook bottleneck. The extra crossing of the city centre will allow the East Didsbury to Rochdale and maybe the Altringham to Bury direct to use it but leaves the increasing bottleneck between Cornbrook and St Peter’s Square. With the ultimate plan to increase frequencies to 6 minute headways plus the Airport Line coming on stream in the next 2 years will throw an impossible strain on the system. I seem to recall a meeting with the PTE in the late Eighties when it was pointed out that many more trams would be needed for the initial system. On the night their answer to me was that there was no plans to increase the numbers. The rest as commuters on the Altringham to Bury Lines with the early chronic overcrowding is history.

  14. Nigel Pennick says:

    Manchester does better than anywhere else. It actually gets the lines built and running. Of course it will need more capacity with the new Trafford line and tram-train projects. But it can be provided when necessary, as happens in London all the time. There must be some political problems in Leeds, but cities like Liege in Belgium also have repeated problems in bringing trams back. Perseverance is the only answer.

    • roger woodhead says:

      TfGM does better for Metrolink because most of the recent extensions plus the airport,2cc and Trafford centre lines have or are to be funded locally.The trams for the Trafford Centre line will also be funded locally. There is a greater political will in Greater Manchester for Metrolink than is shown by other areas resulting in easier access to local funding. Leeds I think was the brainchild of Leeds City Council rather than West Yorkshire PTE wish may have resulted in a different conclusion had the PTE been more proactive.
      It should also be born in mind that TfGM has far greater powers than the other PTE’s in fact TfGM is virtually a clone TfL.
      I would think that TfGM would have little difficulty in obtaining Government funding for Tram-Trains due to the proposed lines saving on subsidies to Network Rail and train operators and also save replacing ageing rolling stock. Dept for Trnspt has intimated in the past that it would be interested in TfGM taking responsibility for local rail services in the Tfgm area.
      End of rant.

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