The expansion of Manchester’s Metrolink network has been completed with the opening of the Second City Crossing on Sunday, February 26.
Termed the ‘Big Bang’ expansion, work started in December 2009 on a new line to East Disbury. Since then, the £1.3 billion project has resulted in new lines to MediaCityUK, Rochdale via Oldham, Ashton and Manchester Airport.
As a result, the Metrolink network is now three times its original size and the largest light rail system in the UK.
The latest, and last, element to be opened is the Second City Crossing, from Deansgate-Cathedral to Victoria, taking in a major new stop at St Peter’s Square.
TfGM Metrolink director Peter Cushing commented: “The Second City Crossing opening is the culmination of years of hard work to complete the Phase 3 Big Bang expansion, and it would not have been possible without the hard work of my team, contractors MPT and operator RATP Dev, helping to make this a reality.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved and I look forward to seeing our customers right across the tram network experiencing the benefits.”
Although the Big Bang expansion is complete, that’s not the end of the story. Construction work is now under way on a new 5.5km Metrolink line from the existing Pomona Metrolink stop, through Trafford Park, to the Trafford Centre. It will include six new tram stops and should be open in 2021.
Report by Nigel Wordsworth