Posted 27th February 2017 | 4 Comments

New tram line opens in Manchester

A KEY link taking trams on a second route through Manchester city centre has opened for business, marking another phase in the system’s expansion.

The Second City Crossing connects St Peter’s Square with Victoria station via Exchange Square, for the Arndale Centre. It is carrying trams from East Didsbury on the lines to Rochdale and Shaw & Crompton, but Metrolink has said trams from the airport, which currently terminate short of the city centre at Deansgate-Castlefield, will also use the 2CC and run through to Victoria, providing a direct link between the airport and the centre of Manchester for the first time.

The new line runs along Princess Street, Cross Street and Corporation Street, and it had opened ahead of schedule between Exchange Square and Victoria in Decenber 2015, haviing been ‘fast tracked’ with the aid of money from the European Development Fund.

Councillor Andrew Fender, who chairs the TfGM Committee, had said 2CC ‘will provide much-needed operational flexibility and resilience’.

The original junction at Piccadilly Gardens, which forms a triangle, was part of the original system when it opened in 1992 and was intended to be future-proof. However, major expansion of the network since then has meant that Piccadilly Gardens no longer has enough capacity to carry every tram running through the centre of Manchester.

Work has also now started on a new 5.5km Metrolink line to Trafford Centre, which will branch off from the Pomona stop and could be open by 2020. It will take the route length of Metrolink to 103km.

The system celebrates its 25th anniversary in April, while the identity of the operator which runs the system for TfGM will change from RATP Dev and maintenance contractor MPT to KeolisAmey in July.

Reader Comments:

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

  • John Gilbert, Cradley, Herefordshire

    Although it would have pushed up the cost, it is to be regretted that the junctions at both ends of 2CC were not built as triangles. This would have given a great deal more resilience to the city centre layout.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    What a shame that the Tram Train experiment was not allocated to Manchester as I reckon they would already be in service proving the concept in this country . Instead we will still have to wait for the experiment to take place in Sheffield.

    While it seems in London Mayor Khan has little interest in expanding trams in London with even extending Croydon Tramlink not on the agenda let alone other schemes like Cross River Tram which with the coming of HS2 to Euston would provide a high capacity link to Euston from Waterloo Station and help remove many buses on its corridor thus reducing pollution in central London!

  • Andrew Gwilt, Rayleigh, Essex

    Finally the Second City Crossing is now opened after completion.

    Next is the Trafford Park Line extension to Port Salford (West of Manchester City Centre) should start construction and is due to be completed by early/mid 2021.

    With the possible extension to Stockport and a loop via Wythenshaw could also get the go ahead along with new tram-train vehicles to be built.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    Good News at last. With City and Town Centres getting very polluted with fumes from Cars and Diesels, then it would seem that Electric Trams and Electric Buses may be the only long-term solution.