Manchester Metrolink

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Manchester Metrolink

Metrolink Tram.jpg
LocaleGreater Manchester
Transit typeLight rail
Number of lines3
Number of stations37
Daily ridership52,000
HeadquartersMetrolink House,
Queens Road,
Began operation6 April 1992
Operator(s)Stagecoach Group
Number of vehicles32 Ansaldobreda T-68s
Train length30 m (98 ft)
System length37 km (23 mi)
Track gaugeStandard gauge
Top speed80 km/h (50 mph)

Manchester Metrolink[1] (or usually just Metrolink) is the name of the tram system in Greater Manchester, England. The system is owned by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), which used to be called the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE). It is operated under contract by the RATP Group.

History[change | change source]

A 1910 map of railways in central Manchester

The construction of Manchester's railway network in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries had created a lot of termini around the City Centre. These were not linked together. This left a large amount of Manchester disconnected from the railway network.

For many years there had been plans to connect Manchester's two main railway stations. These are Piccadilly and Victoria. In the late 1960s and early 1970s there were plans for a "Picc-Vic tunnel". This tunnel would carry main-line trains under the city centre.[2] The proposal was abandoned because it would cost too much.

Metrolink was created by converting two British Rail lines serving the suburbs of Manchester, one to the town of Altrincham to the south, and another to the town of Bury to the north, to light rail. These two lines were joined up in Manchester city centre, where trams run on the roads, and had a short branch to Piccadilly railway station. This first section of the new system opened in 1992, and a newer line to Eccles opened in 2001.

Lots of extensions to the system have opened since then, with more that are currently being built or proposed. Metrolink now has lines that serve Didsbury, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Rochdale, MediaCityUK and Manchester Airport. These expansions increased the system's length from 37 km to 97 km with 99 stops. [3][4] Sometime in 2017 there will be a second line through Manchester city centre serving Exchange Square, and another line towards the Trafford Centre shopping mall before the end of the decade. There are also plans for tram-train lines to Stockport and other places in Greater Manchester.

References[change | change source]

  1. Department for Transport (2005-02-02). "Manchester Metrolink Working Group Minutes". Archived from the original on 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  2. SELNEC (October 1971), SELNEC Picc-Vic Line, SELNEC publicity brochure
  3. "Tram line extension is approved". BBC News. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  4. "Metrolink: back on track?". BBC Manchester. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
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