Posted 14th October 2014 | 3 Comments

Manchester Airport tram line to open next month

SERVICES on the new Metrolink line to Manchester Airport will open to passengers on Monday 3 November – more than 12 months ahead of schedule.

The final stage of testing will start on 20 October when trams will run without passengers between Cornbrook and the airport every 12 minutes – reflecting the actual headways after the launch.

The line will be the first not to serve the city centre, because there is no more capacity through the critical delta triangle at Piccadilly Gardens. However, the airport service will be extended through the centre when the second line between St Peter's Square and Victoria station via Exchange Square opens in 2017.

Journeys from the airport to the interchange at Cornbrook will take around 45 minutes and will effectively double the number of trams running on the existing route between St Werburgh’s Road and Cornbrook.

Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “Seeing our trams reach Manchester Airport more than a year ahead of schedule is a truly amazing achievement – and a game-changer for the communities set to benefit from its 15 new stops and frequent, fully accessible services.

“For Wythenshawe in particular, Metrolink will provide new and easier ways for people across Greater Manchester to reach the town centre and all it has to offer – as well as making it a more attractive place to live, work and do business.

“The arrival of the new town centre interchange next year will, of course, make it even easier still. For people already living along the line, it will provide new ways of getting to work, leisure, health and education opportunities.

“Because of that, it’s going to be a catalyst for great change and growth, and I am truly delighted we’ve been able to start that process so much earlier than we expected when we first started this very ambitious and challenging project.”

Councillor Jeff Smith, Manchester City Council's executive member for housing and regeneration, added: "This new line will play a vital role in supporting the ongoing regeneration of Wythenshawe as well as making it easier for residents to access jobs and services at the airport and across Greater Manchester."

The 14.5km line will bring the size of the Metrolink network to 92.5km, serving 92 stops. More Bombardier Flexity trams have been ordered recently to cope with the expanding network and demand, and by 2017 the fleet total will have increased to 120.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Bob Jones, Manchester

    They will run through the city centre when the 'Second City Crossing' opens, but there isn't enough capacity in the meantime.

    (I rather think our original story made that point!--Editor.)

  • Chris Neville-Smith, Durham

    I guess the reason they've chosen not to send Airport trams into the city centre just yet is that city centre passengers can already travel by train to Manchester Piccadilly (and experience shows passengers have a strong preference for fast services over slow ones).

    Anyway, that's a minor issue that will resolve itself in three years, so it's not worth a huge argument.


    Seems strange that the Airport link is stopping short of the City centre; this will not help tired travellers with luggage! Surely it would have been less inconvenient to terminate East Didsbury services at Cornbrook until the new cross city link is finished?