The first stage of the Second City Crossing (2CC) for Manchester Metrolink looks set to open in winter 2015/6 following confirmation of a £10.8 million European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) bid grant. This grant should allow completion of the line between Victoria and Exchange Square by next summer with trams carrying passengers possibly during the following winter.
It has long been hoped that the 2CC would be able to open in stages with an extra service starting between Shaw & Crompton and the city centre and this funding should be able to make that a reality. The remainder of the 2CC would follow in 2017, as originally planned.
The funding will also allow TfGM to transform the existing footbridge linking the Metrolink stop at Deansgate-Castlefield with Deansgate Railway Station and a new lift and steps will be installed at the Deansgate end of the stop with a new pedestrian bridge and steps at the Albion Street end.
Work is already underway at Deansgate-Castlefield which will see the stop transformed with a new inbound island platform and a new outbound platform. There will also be two new track crossovers installed which means trams will be able to turn back in either direction. It is planned that this work will be completed by next summer after which attention will turn to major redevelopment works at St Peter’s Square.
Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “This is fantastic news that has far reaching benefits. It means the early arrival of trams to Exchange Square, it means more trams for people travelling between Oldham and Manchester and it means the transformation of the Deansgate-Castlefield stop. Most importantly of all, it means that we can start to realise some of the many benefits of Metrolink’s transformational Second City Crossing a lot sooner.”