Transport bosses have seen firsthand the exciting progress that has been made on one of Greater Manchester’s new Metrolink lines.
Leading members of Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) visited Salford Quays for a tour of work on a new spur from the existing Eccles line that will serve MediaCityUK – home to the BBC’s new northern headquarters.
The 0.4 km-long spur will open next summer, when a dedicated peak-time service to Cornbrook will run five times an hour between 7.15am and 8pm, Mondays to Fridays, and 9am to 8pm on Saturdays.
To date, the foundations of the new route have been laid and work to weld the tracks together and fasten them to concrete slabs is underway, ahead of them being put in place.
Councillor Keith Whitmore, Chair of GMITA, said: “This project is a great example of putting good public transport links at the heart of a major development – and they don’t come much better than a dedicated tram line.
“It is great to get a sense of how far things have come with the new line and how it will look when it’s completed.”
MediaCityUK is expected to create 15,500 jobs and bring £1 billion to the regional economy in its first five years.
The new tram line, which is being funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and Salford City Council, will leave the existing Eccles Metrolink line just before the Broadway Metrolink stop and end at a new MediaCityUK stop.
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said: “These NWDA funded improvements will bring increased frequency of tram service to the whole of the Salford Quays area, matching that of the city centre service.
“This improvement to the Metrolink service will not only enhance connectivity with the city, it will also help to support the continued economic growth of the Manchester City Region in a sustainable manner and it is good to see that the project is on track.”
Councillor Richard Knowles, Chair of GMITA’s Capital Projects Committee, said: “MediaCityUK and its Metrolink extension are really beginning to take shape on the ground and I am delighted with the progress that has been made so far.
“It will also bring Metrolink much closer to the Lowry Centre. I look forward to seeing trams running down the line next year.”
The project forms part of a wider £600 million expansion of the Metrolink network, which will see new lines built to Oldham and Rochdale, Droylsden in Tameside and Chorlton in South Manchester. A new tram depot is also being built at Trafford Bar.