Proposed service pattern revealed for Metrolink post-2CC opening

As construction work starts to come towards a conclusion on Manchester Metrolink’s Second City Crossing (2CC) Transport for Greater Manchester have released their proposals for the service pattern which will operate from early 2017 once the new line opens. The new 2CC will initially see trams running between Rochdale Town Centre and East Didsbury with the Manchester Airport service eventually extended to Victoria (from early 2017 it is planned this service will be run to Deansgate-Castlefield instead of its current terminus of Cornbrook).

The proposed services – due to be discussed by the TfGM Committee next week – which would operate from early 2017 would be:

Altrincham to Piccadilly

Bury to Piccadilly

East Didsbury to Rochdale Town Centre (via 2CC)

Eccles to Ashton-under-Lyne

Manchester Airport to Deansgate-Castlefield

Altrincham to Bury (Monday to Saturday 0700 to 1900)

East Didsbury to Shaw & Crompton (Monday to Saturday 0700 to 1900)

MediaCityUK to Etihad Campus (Monday to Saturday 0700 to 1900)

Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “Metrolink is now the largest light rail network in the UK and the launch of the Second City Crossing early next year will mark the completion of one of the biggest transport projects in the country. It will provide the flexibility and resilience a network of such size demands – but it will also open up some new opportunities. In putting this service schedule forward, TfGM has made sure we continue to run high frequency services to major city centre employment areas, and continue to target passenger demand along each route. Quick and easy connections are also maintained: passengers will be able to travel anywhere on the 93-stop network with just one change of tram.”

All major construction work on 2CC is set to be completed ahead of the busy festive period. This will be followed by a full testing and commissioning period ahead of the line opening to the public in early 2017.

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15 Responses to Proposed service pattern revealed for Metrolink post-2CC opening

  1. Nigel Pennick says:

    Eight tram routes and variations thereof, and yet the trams do not carry route numbers or colours. This is very confusing for visitors who need to get about. Is this a historic first in British Tramways, or were there other systems without route identification and equally as confusing in the past?

  2. Clifford Stead says:

    I was at a Rail Conference on Tuesday in Manchester, Sir Richard Leese gave a very interesting talk on Metrolink. Testing on the 2CC will start later this month with trams dragged through for gauge testing. He then talked about a 3CC which would be underground as a possibility for the future.

    • Nigel Pennick says:

      Britain does not have a good historic record of tram tunnels. Back around 1910 in Manchester there were so many trams running in the streets that there was talk of putting them in subways. But only one tram subway was ever built – Kingsway in London (1906). The other planned London tram subways were never built, as happened in Leeds with the subway plans after World War II. Later plans for a tram subway across central Birmingham were scrapped, too. Metrolink itself came about because it was deemed too expensive to build the Picc-Vic tunnels and rails in the streets were cheaper and more user-friendly. So I am surprised that underground proposals are being made now.

  3. Frank Gradwell says:

    Leese must have a very short and selective memory! Those of us with a long enough experience of the real world, rather than the red tinged halls of Manchester Town Hall remember why a tunnel under the city was refused last time – and with two light rail crossings and a main line orbital now in place, the chances are a darned sight less now.

    Along Deansgate Leese, for CC3 as it always should have been!

  4. Phil Hart says:

    There was also a planned tram route under the Roadway of the Queensway Mersey Tunnel in Liverpool. It never happened.

    Certain parts of Metrolink could go underground (around Piccadilly Gardens and Market Street) but not completely.

  5. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Manchester below ground very quickly reaches solid rock. In London it is blue clay easy to cut through. Not financially viable to tunnel at any time.

  6. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    In the thirties there were over 2000 trams operating in the Manchester area with a number of operators. The city centre streets were much more crowded with trams than today.

  7. Could you please enlighten me as someone who is not too familiar with the Manchester system and the operational performance?

    In theory this second city centre crossing can do little to remove what from far away looks like the one bottleneck, the section between Cornbrook and St. Peter’s Square with, unless I counted incorrectly, seven services all at 12 minute intervals. Is my thinking correct?

  8. Ken Walker says:

    Looking at TfGM’s intended service when CC2 opens it’s a good job that the heavy rail Ordsall chord is due to open in about 12 minths time as they have all but ditched the direct tram link between Manchester’s 2 main railway stations with the frequency back to the 1992 level of every 12 minutes. Considering that Metrolink was originally created as a ‘poor man’s Picc-Vic’ the service is very poor. I can’t see passengers with luggage in tow wanting to mess about changing trams in the city centre.

  9. John Gilbert says:

    Further to Mr Pennick’s comment, the problem in Britain with tunnels is that we are too parsimonious to pay for them despite their being the obvious need in so many cases. As Oscar Wilde said so very correctly, “They (we British) know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” ‘Twas ever thus and will presumably remain so until we change our mental processes. I.e. never!

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