04 December 2013

Trams to the Trafford Centre come a step closer

The route for the new Metrolink line to the Trafford Centre will be discussed by transport leaders on Friday.

A report to the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee shows the 5.5km route, which will be used to assess the budget required and accompanying business case, leaving the existing Metrolink network at the Pomona stop.

From here it runs alongside the Manchester Ship Canal before following Trafford Wharf Road and Warren Bruce Road and then runs through the Village area of Trafford Park.

It then crosses Parkway Circle and the Bridgewater Canal before terminating at the Trafford Centre.

While stop names are to be determined, they are planned to be close to key facilities, including Wharfside for Old Trafford, the Imperial War Museum North, Trafford Park Village, Parkway, EventCity and the Trafford Centre.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “This is an important step on the road to delivering this new line, which would be a fantastic addition to what is already a flagship centre for business and tourism.

“The route has evolved over time and better reflects how the area it would serve has developed – and continues to develop – since an original set of plans were approved back in 2001.

“There is a great deal of work ahead of us before we can start to think of shovels hitting the ground, but I’m really pleased that it is building momentum and I look forward to more progress being made in the coming months and years.”

The scheme as a whole will be put to a public consultation next year, ahead of a formal application being made to government for a Transport and Works Act Order that would give TfGM the statutory powers needed to construct and operate the line.

Securing the powers would allow construction to start once funding for the project has been confirmed.

Discussions will take place with government to that end over the coming months, with updates to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to follow.

The GMCA has already approved the initial funding required to get the scheme ‘shovel ready’, which includes an order for 10 new trams to serve the line at circa £2 million a vehicle.

Ordering the vehicles now ensures TfGM secures the best price as it maintains the current supply stream from Bombardier, who are already providing a total of 94 new trams for the Metrolink network.

Delaying the Trafford Centre line order by just one year would add around £1.5 million to the order as a whole.

Subject to securing the necessary powers and full funding, construction of the new line could be completed in 2019.​

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