Metrolink Airport line to open on Monday 3rd November

Transport for Greater Manchester have confirmed that the Manchester Metrolink Airport extension will open to the public from Monday 3rd November – more than 12 months ahead of schedule (as they are very keen to point out!) Ahead of the public opening full shadow running will commence from Monday 20th October.

Services will initially run every 12 minutes between the Airport and Cornbrook although it is planned that once the Second City Crossing is completed the services will be able to be extended into Manchester City Centre (Victoria). As a result of the opening of the line some other lines first and last tram times are due to change from Monday 20th October but the details of these have yet to be announced.

The Airport extension will add another 15 stops to the Metrolink network: Barlow Moor Road, Sale Water Park, Northern Moor, Wythenshawe Park, Moor Road, Baguley, Roundthorn, Martinscroft, Benchill, Crossacres, Wythenshawe Town Centre, Robinswood Road, Peel Hall, Shadowmoss and Manchester Airport. Services will take approximately 45 minutes between the Airport and Cornbrook and will effectively double the number of trams on the section between St Werburgh’s Road and Cornbrook.

Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “Seeing our trams reach Manchester Airport more than a year ahead of schedule is a truly amazing achievement – and a game-changer for the communities set to benefit from its 15 new stops and frequent, fully accessible services. For Wythenshawe in particular, Metrolink will provide new and easier ways for people across Greater Manchester to reach the town centre and all it has to offer – as well as making it a more attractive place to live, work and do business. The arrival of the new town centre interchange next year will, of course, make it even easier still. For people already living along the line, it will provide new ways of getting to work, leisure, health and education opportunities. Because of that, it’s going to be a catalyst for great change and growth, and I am truly delighted we’ve been able to start that process so much earlier than we expected when we first started this very ambitious and challenging project.”

As from 3rd November the Metrolink network will be 57.5 miles (92.5km) long and will serve 92 stops with the next section of line due to open after this being the first section of the Second City Crossing.

3078 crosses the Mersey Viaduct on 12th October during Driver Training.

Also on 12th October 3080 on Driver Training ahead of the opening of the line on 3rd November. (Both Photos: Steve Kemp)

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9 Responses to Metrolink Airport line to open on Monday 3rd November

  1. Mark Sheppard says:

    Whilst I agree that the new line is a great addition to the Metrolink network, to suggset that it is a year ahead of schedule I think is misleading. The earlier extensions had broad deadlines but with a specific season and year so Summer 2002 for example. Having missed a couple of these early deadlines, they now just specifiy a year, so the airport line will open in 2015, the second city crossing in 2016. I would not be in the least surprised if they second city crossing also ‘opens ahead of schedule’.

    • Ken Walker says:

      Yes but the original timescale was for the Airport line to open in 2016, so it is more than a year early no matter how you look at it. The fact that the services will terminate at Cornbrook also doesn’t alter the fact that the whole of the airport line is opening. It might have been more use if the infrastructure had been completed to allow the trams to terminate at Deansgate though instead of in the middle of nowhere.

      • roger woodhead says:

        Agree with all that you say, Ken, but at least by terminating at Cornbrook it does give access to services covering the rest of the network. I would be interested to know which route the Airport services are going to take to Victoria when 2cc opens and which other services will take the 2cc route as well.

  2. Mike Stone says:

    Surely it would make more sense to operate the Airport service to the city centre and cut back the MediaCity service to Cornbrook where it was originally planned to terminate, and system maps have always shown it terminating.

    • freel07 says:

      From what we hear MediaCityUK service is likely to be cut back to Cornbrook next year during the 2CC construction works at St Peters Square as there will not be enough capacity to allow all the existing services to run through. Both Airport and MediaCityUK trams will use Cornbrook then until the work is finished. It makes sense not to offer an Airport service to the centre then withdraw it again after a short time.

      The plan behind the additional 16 trams recently announced includes permanent extension of the MediaCityUK trams to Piccadilly once 2CC is complete along with other developments to enhance peak capacity across the network.

      • Ken Walker says:

        While admittedly as has been pointed out terminating the Airport service at Cornbrook gives access to the rest of the network, I would still have thought that it would make more sense to complete Deansgate / Castlefield and run the services to there, particularly as the new layout has been specifically designed to allow turning back of services from either direction. Deansgate is also within reasonable walking distance of at least the Oxford Road area of the city centre for many people, (particularly useful as an alternative if the services forward to the city centre are disrupted), and passengers travelling to Piccadilly for onward travel by train would have access to the railway at Deansgate station, only a short walk away. Turning back at Cornbrook may be convenient for the operators but Deansgate would be far more convenient for the travelling public.

  3. Gareth Prior says:

    Details of first and last service times from Monday 20th October are now available on the TfGM website for anyone who is interested:

  4. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Today there was great disruption according to Metrolink …A medical emergency. I believe at Cornbrook. I am not sure whether this played it’s part but there appeared to be no shadow running on the Airport Line.

    • Ken Walker says:

      I was a bit puzzled to see on the website that the Bury / Abraham Moss service had been suspended due to the incident at Deansgate while the Bury / Altrincham and East Didsbury / Rochdale services were shown as running normally.