Schematic map of Metrolink
|Owner||Transport for Greater Manchester|
|Transit type||Tram/Light rail|
|Number of lines||7|
|Number of stations||93|
|Annual ridership||43.7 million (2018/19)|
|Chief executive||Danny Vaughan (TfGM's Metrolink Director)|
|Headquarters||Metrolink Trafford Depot|
Warwick Road South
|Began operation||6 April 1992|
|Operator(s)||KeolisAmey Metrolink Ltd.|
|Number of vehicles||120 M5000s (27 more on order)|
|Train length||28.4 metres (93 ft)|
|System length||62 miles (100 km)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Minimum radius of curvature||25 m (82 ft)|
|Electrification||Overhead line (750 V DC)|
|Top speed||50 miles per hour (80 km/h)|
Metrolink (also known as Manchester Metrolink) 62 miles (100 km) of standard-gauge track, making it the most extensive light rail system in the United Kingdom. Metrolink is owned by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and operated and maintained under contract by a Keolis/Amey consortium. In 2018/19, 43.7 million passenger journeys were made on the system.is a tram/light rail system in Greater Manchester, England. The network has 93 stops along
A tram is a rail vehicle which runs on tramway tracks along public urban streets; some include segments of segregated right-of-way. The lines or networks operated by tramcars are called tramways. Historically the term electric street railways was also used in the United States. In the United States, the term tram has sometimes been used for rubber-tired trackless trains, which are unrelated to other kinds of trams.
Light rail, light rail transit (LRT), tram or fast tram is a form of urban rail transit using rolling stock similar to a tram, but operating at a higher capacity, and often on an exclusive right-of-way.
Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county and combined authority area in North West England, with a population of 2.8 million. It encompasses one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom and comprises ten metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of Manchester and Salford. Greater Manchester was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972, and designated a functional city region on 1 April 2011.
The network consists of seven lines which radiate from Manchester city centre to termini at Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury, East Didsbury, Eccles, Manchester Airport and Rochdale. It consists of a mixture of on-street track shared with other traffic; reserved track sections, segregated from other traffic, and converted former railway lines.It is operated by a fleet of Bombardier Flexity Swift M5000s.
Manchester city centre is the central business district of Manchester, England, within the boundaries of Trinity Way, Great Ancoats Street and Whitworth Street. The City Centre ward had a population of 17,861 at the 2011 census.
Altrincham is a town in Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, south of the River Mersey 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Manchester city centre, 3 miles (5 km) southwest of Sale and 10 miles (16 km) east of Warrington. At the 2011 Census, it had a population of 52,419.
Ashton-under-Lyne is a market town in Tameside, Greater Manchester, England. The population was 45,198 at the 2011 census. Historically in Lancashire, it is on the north bank of the River Tame, in the foothills of the Pennines, 6.2 miles (10.0 km) east of Manchester.
A light rail system for Greater Manchester emerged from the failure of the 1970s Picc-Vic tunnel scheme to obtain central government funding. A light-rail scheme was proposed in 1982 as the least expensive rail-based transport solution for Manchester city centre and the surrounding Greater Manchester metropolitan area. Government approval was granted in 1988, and the network began operating services between Bury Interchange and Victoria on 6 April 1992, becoming the United Kingdom's first modern street-running rail system; the 1885-built Blackpool tramway being the only first-generation tram system in the UK that had survived up to Metrolink's creation.
Picc-Vic was a proposed, and later cancelled, underground railway designed in the early 1970s with the purpose of connecting two major mainline railway termini in Manchester city centre, England. The name Picc-Vic was a contraction of the two station names, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria. The proposal envisaged the construction of an underground tunnel across Manchester city centre. The scheme was abandoned in 1977 during its proposal stages due to excessive costs, and that the scheme still retained two large and expensive-to-maintain terminal stations in Manchester; other similar sized cities had reduced their terminals to one.
A metropolitan area, this reffers to the large scale metro area or commuter belt, is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metro area usually comprises multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships, boroughs, cities, towns, exurbs, suburbs, counties, districts, states, and even nations like the eurodistricts. As social, economic and political institutions have changed, metropolitan areas have become key economic and political regions. Metropolitan areas include one or more urban areas, as well as satellite cities, towns and intervening rural areas that are socioeconomically tied to the urban core, typically measured by commuting patterns. In the United States, the concept of the metropolitan statistical area has gained prominence. Metropolitan areas may themselves be part of larger megalopolises.
Bury Interchange is a transport hub in Bury, Greater Manchester, England. Opened in 1980, it is the northern terminus of the Manchester Metrolink's Bury Line, which prior to 1992 was a heavy-rail line. It also incorporates a bus station.
Expansion of Metrolink has been a critical strategy of transport planners in Greater Manchester, who have overseen its development in successive projects, known as Phases 1, 2, 3a and 3b with the most recent phase, 2CC becoming operational in February 2017.Construction work on the Trafford Park Line extension from Pomona to the Trafford Centre commenced in early 2017 with an estimated operational date of 2020/21. Furthermore, TfGM has endorsed more speculative expansion proposals for new lines to Stockport, a loop around Wythenshawe, and the addition of tram-train technology.
The Trafford Park Line is a tram line under construction on the Manchester Metrolink network in Greater Manchester, England, running from Pomona to the Trafford Centre. Its name derives from Trafford Park, an area of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, and the first planned industrial estate in the world.
Pomona is a tram stop on the Eccles Line of Greater Manchester's light rail Metrolink system. It opened to passengers on 12 June 1999, as part of Phase 2 of the network's expansion, at Pomona Docks in Old Trafford.
Trafford Centre is a tram stop under construction for Greater Manchester's Metrolink light rail system, that will be created to serve passengers boarding and alighting at the Trafford Centre on a new line on the network.
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Manchester's first tram age began in 1877 with the first horse-drawn trams of Manchester Suburban Tramways Company. Electric traction was introduced in 1901, and the municipal Manchester Corporation Tramways expanded across the city. By 1930, Manchester's tram network had grown to 163 route miles (262 km), making it the third-largest tram system in the United Kingdom. After World War II, electric trolleybuses and motor buses began to be favoured by local authorities as a cheaper transport alternative, and by 1949 the last Manchester tram line was closed. Trolleybuses were withdrawn from service in 1966.
The Manchester Suburban Tramways Company (MSTC) was set up in 1877 to provide horse-drawn tram services throughout Manchester and Salford, in England. The company's first tram service, which was also a first for Manchester, ran on 17 May 1877. The MSTC was merged with the Manchester Carriage Company in 1880 to form the Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company. The initial board of directors comprised Daniel Busby, William Turton, John Greenwood, and Benjamin Whitworth.
Between 1901 and 1949 Manchester Corporation Tramways was the municipal operator of electric tram services in Manchester, England At its peak in 1928 the organisation carried 328 million passengers, on 953 trams, via 46 routes, along 292 miles (470 km) of track.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Greater Manchester's railway network historically suffered from poor north-south connections because Manchester's main railway stations, Piccadilly and Victoria,were built in the 1840s on peripheral locations outside Manchester city centre. The central commercial district had no rail links, and over the years, several unsuccessful schemes were proposed to connect Manchester's rail termini. In the 1960s, transport design studies were undertaken to address the problems of increasing traffic congestion. Many urban public transport schemes were evaluated for Manchester, including several types of monorail systems and metro-style systems.
Manchester Piccadilly is the principal railway station in Manchester, England. Opened as Store Street in 1842, it was renamed Manchester London Road in 1847 and Manchester Piccadilly in 1960. Located to the south-east of Manchester city centre, it hosts long-distance intercity and cross-country services to national destinations including London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, and Bournemouth; regional services to destinations in Northern England including Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and York; and local commuter services around Greater Manchester. It is one of 19 major stations managed by Network Rail. The station has 14 platforms, twelve terminal and two through platforms. Piccadilly is also a major interchange with the Metrolink light rail system with two tram platforms in its undercroft.
Manchester Victoria station in Manchester, England is a combined mainline railway station and Metrolink tram stop. Situated to the north of the city centre on Hunts Bank, close to Manchester Cathedral, it adjoins Manchester Arena which was constructed on part of the former station site in the 1990s. Opened in 1844 and part of the Manchester station group, Victoria is Manchester's busiest railway station after Piccadilly and Oxford Road and the busiest station managed by Northern after Oxford Road.
Traffic congestion is a condition on transport that as use increases, and is characterised by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction between vehicles slows the speed of the traffic stream, this results in some congestion. While congestion is a possibility for any mode of transportation, this article will focus on automobile congestion on public roads.
While the monorail schemes were all abandoned, a scheme to create an underground tunnel link gained momentum. The SELNEC Passenger Transport Executive — the body formed in 1969 to improve public transport for Manchester and its surrounding municipalities – promoted the 'Picc-Vic tunnel' project. The project was a proposal to link Piccadilly and Victoria stations via a tunnel under the city centre and enable train services to run across the Manchester conurbation.Greater Manchester County Council (GMC) inherited the project and presented it to the United Kingdom Government in 1974, but the council failed to secure the necessary funding, and the project was abandoned in 1977. The Centreline shuttle bus service provided inter-station links for many years.
The Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE), the successor to SELNEC, continued to examine possible rail link solutions. Light rail emerged in the early 1980s as a cost-effective option that could make use of existing railway lines and run through the city centre at street level, eliminating the need for costly tunnelling works. 62-mile (100 km) network consisting of three lines: Altrincham–Hadfield/Glossop, Bury–Marple/Rose Hill and Rochdale–East Didsbury. To promote the scheme, GMPTE held a public proof of concept demonstration on March 1987 using a Docklands Light Railway P86 train on a freight-only line adjacent to Debdale Park. The Project Light Rail proposals were presented to the UK Government for taxpayer funding; following route revisions in 1984 and 1987, Project Light Rail was approved. Because of the central government's constraints on financial support for innovative transport projects, funding was granted by HM Treasury with the strict condition that the system is constructed in phases. Additional taxpayer funding came from the European Regional Development Fund and bank lending.A Rail Study Group, composed of officials from British Rail, GMC and GMPTE formally endorsed the Project Light Rail scheme in 1984. Initial abstract proposals, based on light rail systems in North America and continental Europe, illustrated a draft
Parliamentary authority to proceed with Phase 1 construction was obtained with two Acts of Parliament – the Greater Manchester (Light Rapid Transit System) Act 1988 and Greater Manchester (Light Rapid Transit System) (No. 2) Act 1988.
Beginning on July 1991, the first Phase of Metrolink involved the conversion of two suburban heavy rail lines to light rail operation — the Bury-Victoria line in the north and the Altrincham-Piccadilly line in the south — and the construction of a street-level tramway through the city centre to connect the two. 1.9-mile (3.1 km) route from Victoria station, via Market Street to the G-Mex, with a 0.4-mile (0.64 km) branch to Piccadilly station. This route is now known as the First City Crossing (1CC), and it was built with network expansion in mind.Tracks were laid down along a
A fleet of 26 T-68 light rail vehicles was procured to operate the 19.2-mile (30.9 km) network. Construction was carried out by the GMA Group (a consortium of AMEC, GM Buses, John Mowlem & Company, and GEC), costing £145 million (equivalent to £295 million in 2018).
Metrolink was initially scheduled to open in September 1991, but services did not begin until 1992, when the Bury Line opened as far as Victoria on 6 April.The first street-level trams began running on 27 April between Victoria and G-Mex (now Deansgate-Castlefield), the Altrincham line opened on 15 June, and the branch to Piccadilly station opened on 20 July. Metrolink was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 17 July 1992.
In Phase 2 the Metrolink network was extended westwards to Eccles along the new 4-mile (6.4 km) Eccles Line, as part of the 1990s urban regeneration of Salford Quays, increasing the total Metrolink route length to 24 miles (39 km). The extension cost £160 million (equivalent to £265 million in 2018) and was funded by the GMPTA, the ERDF and private developers. It was constructed 1997–99 by Altram (a consortium of Serco, Ansaldo and John Laing) and six new T-68A trams were bought to operate services. The line was inaugurated by Prime Minister Tony Blair on 6 December 1999 and officially opened by Princess Anne on 9 January 2001.
The Phase 3 extension project, nicknamed the "Big Bang", was promoted by GMPTE and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) in the early 2000s. 808 million in 2018), would create four new lines: the Oldham and Rochdale Line, the East Manchester Line, the South Manchester Line and the Airport Line. Phase 3 was put in doubt when central government funding was withdrawn due to increasing costs, but after negotiations with the Department for Transport, Phase 3 was split into two parts, 3a and 3b, to secure investment. Phase 3b was delayed after a failed bid to raise funding through the Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund and a proposed traffic congestion charge in 2008. GMPTE and AGMA instead funded Phase 3b through a combination of council tax, government grants, Metrolink fares and contributions from the Manchester Airports Group and other bodies. The new 0.25-mile (0.40 km) spur off the Eccles Line to MediaCityUK was funded separately by the Northwest Regional Development Agency. As part of Phase 3, the original blue T-68 trams were also phased out and replaced with a new fleet of M5000 trams, which entered service in December 2009.The project, costing £489,000,000 (equivalent to £
Beginning in October 2009, Phase 3a involved converting the 14-mile (23 km) Oldham Loop heavy rail line to light rail operation and adding several new tram stops on the route; re-opening a disused 1.7-mile (2.7 km) section of Cheshire Lines Committee railway to use as the first part of the South Manchester Line (to St Werburgh's Road); and building a new 4-mile (6.4 km) East Manchester Line as far as Droylsden. When completed in 2013, Phase 3a increased Metrolink's total network length to 43 miles (69 km).
Phase 3b involved the construction of a new 9-mile (14 km) Airport Line to Manchester Airport, and extending three of the new Phase 3a lines: the East Manchester Line to Ashton-under-Lyne; the South Manchester Line to Didsbury; and adding street-running routes through Oldham and Rochdale town centres to the Oldham and Rochdale Line. Construction work began in March 2011, and Phase 3b was completed in November 2014 with the opening of the Airport line.
With increased tram traffic brought about by the expansion of the Metrolink network, it became necessary to build a new route across Manchester City Centre to alleviate congestion and improve capacity.
Known as the Second City Crossing (or 2CC), the project involved laying 0.8 miles (1.3 km) of tram tracks from St Peter's Square tram stop via Princess Street, Albert Square, Cross Street and Corporation Street to rejoin the original Metrolink line just before Victoria station. One new tram stop was built at Exchange Square. The project also involved re-ordering St Peter's Square and re-siting the Cenotaph to accommodate an enlarged tram interchange and junction. Construction began in 2014, and the 2CC route opened fully in February 2017.
The Transport & Works Act Order for the 3.4 mile Trafford Park Line was granted in October 2016.Enabling works began in January 2017.
Many speculative expansion proposals exist for new lines to Stockport, a loop around Wythenshawe, and the addition of tram-train technology.
Before the inauguration, GMPTE's original concept was for Metrolink's operator to provide a service every ten minutes from Bury to Piccadilly and Altrincham to Piccadilly from 6 am to midnight, Monday to Saturday. Greater Manchester Metro Limited, the system's original operator, argued for adjustments, citing the need to provide an efficient and commercially viable operation in line with vehicle running times and passenger demand. Due to power limitations, this pattern was modified to a twelve-minute service throughout the day, doubling to a six-minute service in peak periods, resulting in a "ten trams per hour" service pattern on routes running from Altrincham and Bury to Manchester every six minutes. Operators are required to provide this level of service at least 98% of the time or incur a financial penalty charge. This six-minute service pattern has been adopted on the rest of the network as the system has grown. Heavy snowfall during the winter of 2009/10 impaired Metrolink services and the operator was criticised for failing to have cold weather procedures. This prompted a programme to improve the reliability and performance of the system in freezing conditions. Metrolink operated icebreaker-style vehicles at night during snowfall in January 2013 to provide standard services.
In January 2016, Transport for Greater Manchester agreed on a baseline Service Specification to grade bidders seeking to operate the concession from July 2017; once the Second City Crossing is in operation. In the baseline service pattern, there are no designated 'peak' periods of service operation; instead, there will be an 'enhanced' service operating from start of service to 8 pm Monday to Friday, and to 6 pm Saturday; and a 'core' service running at all other times. In the 'enhanced' service pattern, trams will run with a 6-minute frequency to Shaw & Oldham, Bury, Ashton, Altrincham, Manchester Airport and East Didsbury; and with a 12-minute frequency to Rochdale, Eccles and MediacityUK. When the Trafford line opens, services will run to the Trafford Centre with a 12-minute frequency. In the 'core' service pattern, all lines will run with a 12-minute frequency.
The following services run 07:15–19:30 on weekdays and 09:30–18:00 on Saturdays.
Eight services which run every 12 minutes:
Thus the combined frequency for some routes is at least every 6 minutes, if not higher.
The following services run all day from 06:00 until 23:30 on Mondays to Thursdays, and from 06:00 until 00:30 on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 07:00 – 22:30 on Sundays and bank holidays.
Five services which all run every 12 minutes:
Early morning service
The early morning service operates from 03:00–06:00 Monday to Saturday and 03:00–07:00 on Sundays and bank holidays.
One service which runs every 20 minutes:
This is mostly to support airport shift workers and people with early flights.
|Altrincham – Bury||Mon–Sat daytime|| Altrincham |
|Altrincham – Piccadilly||Mon-Sun|
| Altrincham |
|Ashton-under-Lyne – Eccles||Mon-Sun|
| Ashton-under-Lyne |
|Ashton-under-Lyne – MediaCityUK||Mon–Sat daytime|| Ashton-under-Lyne |
|Bury – Piccadilly||Mon-Sun|
| Bury |
|East Didsbury – Rochdale Town Centre||Mon-Sun|
| East Didsbury, Didsbury Village, West Didsbury, Burton Road, Withington, St Werburgh's Road, Chorlton, Firswood, Trafford Bar, Cornbrook, Deansgate-Castlefield (|
|East Didsbury – Shaw and Crompton||Mon–Sat daytime|| East Didsbury, Didsbury Village, West Didsbury, Burton Road, Withington, St Werburgh's Road, Chorlton, Firswood, Trafford Bar, Cornbrook, Deansgate-Castlefield (|
|Manchester Airport – Victoria||Mon-Sun|
| Manchester Airport |
|Manchester Airport – |
|Mon-Sun early mornings|| Manchester Airport |
service runs at every 20 minutes / 3 trams per hour, rather than the usual every 12 minutes / 5 trams per hour
Metrolink fares were initially set by the system's operator, 9:30a.m. for pensioners. In normal circumstances, tickets cannot be purchased on board Metrolink vehicles and must be purchased from a ticket vending machine before boarding the vehicle.but are now set by the TfGM Committee at levels that cover both the running costs and the cost of borrowing that has part-funded the expansion of the system; Metrolink receives no public subsidy. Fares typically rise each January above the rate of inflation. The fare tariff is based on a division of the network's stops into fare zones. Persons under 16 years of age, persons of pensionable age, and people with disabilities qualify for concessionary fares, some of which are mandatory and others discretionary, as determined by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority permits reduced fares for persons under 16 years of age, and free or reduced fares on Metrolink after
Fare evasion in 2006 was estimated at 2–6% of all users,and in 2012 at 2.5% of all users. Checking tickets and passes and issuing Standard fares (similar to penalty fare) is the responsibility of Metrolink's Passenger Services Representatives (PSRs), who provide security and assistance on the network; between 1992 and 2008, Greater Manchester Police had a dedicated Metrolink unit responsible for policing the system.
Thorn EMI designed the original ticket vending machines.In 2005 GMPTE announced that rail passengers travelling from within Greater Manchester into Manchester city centre could use the Metrolink service between the then eight City Zone stops for free. Passengers must present a valid rail ticket, correctly dated with Manchester Ctlz as the destination. In 2007 TfGM rolled out new ticket vending machines, designed to accept credit/debit card payments and permit the purchase of multiple tickets in a single transaction. These were replaced in 2009 with touchscreen machines, designed with the Scheidt & Bachmann Ticket XPress system.
In October 2012, TfGM announced it was devising a more straightforward zonal fare system, comparable to London fare zones, and preparing to introduce get me there, the region's new contactless smartcard system, for use on all public transport modes in Greater Manchester, including Metrolink.After years of consultation, a new system using four concentric zones was implemented on 13 January 2019.
Metrolink trams and stops have been designed to be accessible to disabled passengers: each stop has been provided with access ramps or lifts, tactile paving, high visibility handrails, disabled boarding points, and help points on the platforms. The trams have also been designed with large areas available for the provision of wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Mobility scooters were initially banned from Metrolink. However, in 2014 a scheme was introduced whereby scooters could be allowed on trams, provided they have a permit which can be obtained after an assessment of the scooter's size and manoeuvrability.
Metrolink does not allow full-sized bicycles on to trams but does permit the carriage of "fully covered" folding bicycles. The ban on non-folding bicycles was upheld in 2010, despite a campaign by cycling and green groups for the trams to be adapted to allow them.Campaigners against the policy had argued that the ban on bicycles was anomalous, as other large objects such as ironing boards and deckchairs were allowed on the trams under current rules.
Metrolink is owned by TfGM and operated and maintained by private transport firms under an operating and maintenance (O&M) contract. Between 1992 and 1997 Metrolink was operated and maintained as a concession by Greater Manchester Metro Limited, between 1997 and 2007 by Serco.When next tendered, a 10-year contract was awarded to the Stagecoach Group from 15 July 2007. On 1 August 2011, RATP Group bought the balance of the contract from Stagecoach.
In October 2015, TfGM announced RATP Group, Keolis/Amey, National Express and Transdev had been shortlisted to bid for the next contract starting in July 2017.In January 2017, the Keolis/Amey consortium was announced as the successful bidder for the seven-year contract from 15 July 2017.
The standard corporate identity across the Metrolink system uses a pale yellow and metallic silver colour scheme, with a logotype that consists of a diamond motif formed from a pattern of repeating circles and the Metrolink name. The logo, signage and publicity use the Pantograph sans regular typeface. Tram livery features yellow at the vehicle ends with grey sides and black doors, and a pattern of circles.
The corporate identity was created in October 2008 by Hemisphere Design & Marketing Consultants of Manchester, in collaboration with designer Peter Saville and the transport design agency Design Triangle.The Pantograph typeface was specially commissioned from the Dalton Maag type foundry. The design standard was applied to the Metrolink network when the new M5000 trams were introduced to the network. Hemisphere chose Yellow for its high visibility and to reflect Greater Manchester's culture of confidence and optimism.
When the Metrolink network first came into operation in 1992, it used a system-wide colour scheme and vehicle livery of aquamarine, black and grey, along with a stylised "M" monogram placed at an angle within a circle. This branding, along with the Metrolink brand name, was devised by Fitch RS and Design Triangle,and first revealed at a press launch in June 1988. Before this, during the planning stage, the system was known as "Light Rapid Transit" (LRT) and promotional material used an orange and brown identity used by Greater Manchester Transport and GM Buses.
Transport planners in Greater Manchester describe Metrolink as both "an icon of Greater Manchester",and "an integral part of the landscape in Greater Manchester". The Guardian describes Metrolink as "Manchester's efficient and much-loved tram system". Under the ownership of the Guardian Media Group, the Manchester Evening News spearheaded the Get Our Metrolink Back on Track campaign in 2004–05. Under Trinity Mirror ownership, the Manchester Evening News used the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to reveal that Metrolink received over 10,000 complaints between May 2011 and May 2012.
Metrolink has had close connections with popular culture in Manchester and has taken advantage of the city's strong associations with football culture. Metrolink has been a "Football Development Partner" with the Manchester Football Association since August 2010,meaning it is the association's Official Travel Partner and supports grassroots association football in Greater Manchester by selecting a "Team of the Month". In 2013, then Manchester City F.C. manager Roberto Mancini and players Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and James Milner recorded special stop announcements to be used on Metrolink's East Manchester Line on dates when Manchester City play at home at the City of Manchester Stadium (served by the Etihad Campus tram stop). The announcements were first used on 17 February 2013, for Manchester City's FA Cup Fifth Round tie against Leeds United A.F.C.
Metrolink is a sponsor of the annual Manchester Food and Drink Festival.
Metrolink has also featured in television drama. On 6 December 2010, the soap opera Coronation Street featured a storyline with an explosion which caused a crash on the Metrolink system at Weatherfield. The episode was written to celebrate the soap opera's 50th anniversary.Although a fictitious event, at least six calls were made to GMPTE asking if services had been affected.
As of December 2015, Metrolink has a network length of 57 miles (92 km) and 93 stops — along seven lines which radiate from a "central triangular junction at Piccadilly Gardens which forms the hub of the Metrolink system" in Zone 1.
The lines are: the Airport Line (which terminates at Manchester Airport), the Altrincham Line (which terminates in Altrincham), the Bury Line (which terminates in Bury), the East Manchester Line (which terminates in Ashton-under-Lyne), the South Manchester Line (which terminates in East Didsbury), the Eccles Line (which terminates in Eccles), and the Oldham and Rochdale Line (which terminates in Rochdale).
|Line or zone||First|
|Route type(s)||Length||Number of|
|Airport Line||3 November 2014||On and off-street||23.2 km|
|15||12 minute||Barlow Moor Road||Manchester Airport|
|Altrincham Line||15 June 1992||Converted railway track||12.2 km|
(less before Trafford Bar)
|Bury Line||6 April 1992||Converted railway track||15.9 km|
|10||6 minute||Queens Road||Bury|
|Zone 1||27 April 1992||On and off-street||9||Various||Victoria|| Deansgate-Castlefield |
or New Islington
|East Manchester Line||11 February 2013||On and off-street||9.7 km|
|11||6 minute||Holt Town||Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Eccles Line||6 December 1998||On and off-street||6.4 km|
(6 minute before Harbour City)
|MediaCityUK spur||3 September 2010||Off-street||0.3 km|
|Oldham and Rochdale Line||13 June 2012||Converted railway track||23.8 km|
(6 minute before Shaw and Crompton)
|Monsall||Rochdale Town Centre|
|South Manchester Line||7 July 2011||Converted railway bed||7.1 km|
(4 minute before St Werburgh's Road)
|Trafford Park Line||2020–21||5.5 km|
There are 93 tram stops on Metrolink, as of 2016. Low-floor platforms commonly used for light rail throughout the world were ruled out for Metrolink because the system inherited 90-centimetre (35 in) high-floor platforms from British Rail on lines formerly used for heavy rail. The first stops on the Bury Line and Altrincham Line, opened in phase one, were formerly railway stations and were changed little from British Rail days, as available funding only allowed minimum upgrades to be made. When the Oldham and Rochdale Line was converted from a railway, however, all of the former railway stations were completely rebuilt.
Some stops, such as Cornbrook, are shared between lines, and may be used as interchange stations;others, such as Altrincham Interchange, or Ashton-under-Lyne are transport hubs which integrate with heavy rail and bus stations.
Metrolink stops are unstaffed, each contains at least two ticket vending machines (except for Pomona, which only has one), and are provided with help/emergency call points to enable passengers to speak to control. Each stop is monitored by CCTV for public safety, and the images are continuously recorded. Route maps and general information are provided on each platform. 2 metres (6.6 ft) wide, accessed by ramp, stairs, escalator, lift or combination thereof. Shelters and canopies at stops were supplied by JCDecaux, and ticket vending machines by Scheidt & Bachmann. Card readers are installed on all stop platforms for use with the TfGM 'My Get Me There' smart card and concessionary passes. All smart card users are required to touch-in at these platform readers before commencing their journey and to touch-out at their final destination.Each stop has at least one high-floor platform measuring a minimum of
The trams are electrically powered from 750 V DC overhead lines.Between 1992 and 2007, electricity for the Metrolink system was procured by the operator, based on price only. In 2007, GMPTE changed the contractual requirements to ensure that sustainable power would be factored into choosing an energy supplier, and in July 2007, Metrolink became the first light rail network in the UK with electricity supplied entirely from sustainable energy via hydropower. Now, energy for the system is generated by biomass.
Metrolink has two depots, at Queens Road and Old Trafford: Metrolink House at Queens Road in Cheetham Hill was the original headquarters of Metrolink. 4-hectare (9.9-acre) £8,000,000 site with limited capacity, and, in light of Phase 3a network expansion, the second depot in Old Trafford was built in 2011. This second depot, adjacent to the Old Trafford tram stop, occupies the site of a former warehouse and can stable up to 96 vehicles, it also has a washing plant and maintenance workshops. On 7 May 2013 Metrolink completed the transfer of its main operational functions from Queens Road to Old Trafford, meaning its control room – known as the Network Management Centre – is housed jointly with the Customer Services team by its newer depot.Constructed during Phase 1 alongside the Bury Line, it served jointly as a control centre, HQ, office space, and depot for the storage, maintenance and repair of vehicles. Under the original proposals, Metrolink House was intended to be much larger, with a design which would support network expansion, but this design did not obtain the necessary planning permission from Manchester City Council. Consequently, Metrolink House was scaled down to a
In July 2013, the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee announced that it planned to enhance the experience of travelling on Metrolink by tapping into Manchester City Council's grant from the UK Urban Broadband Fund and using it to provide Metrolink passengers with free Wi-Fi when on board. The scheme began with a trial on a single tram – number 3054 – connected to the FreeBeeMcr broadband network with the intention of rolling it out across the whole Metrolink network by Spring 2015.It was rolled out fleet wide in March 2015.
Metrolink is operated by a fleet of 120 M5000 trams, which were first introduced in 2009, and continued to be delivered until 2016. These replaced the original fleet of thirty-two T-68 and T-68A trams, which had operated the network since opening in 1992, and were withdrawn from service during 2012–14.
Because low-floor tram technology was in its infancy when Metrolink was in its planning stages, and in order to be compatible with the former British Rail stations Metrolink inherited, the network uses high-floor trams with a platform height of 900 mm (35 in), the same height as main line trains.
Trams on Metrolink can operate either singly, or coupled together to form double units. Double units regularly run during rush hours.
In December 2009, Metrolink took delivery of the first M5000 tram. Built by Bombardier Transportation and Vossloh Kiepe, the initial eight M5000s were ordered to allow services to be increased.They are part of the Flexity Swift range of light rail vehicles and have a design similar to the K5000 vehicle used on the Cologne Stadtbahn.
With the approval of the spur to MediaCityUK, a further four were ordered.To provide rolling stock for the phase 3 extensions and replace the existing fleet, the order was increased successively to 94. In December 2013, a further 10 M5000s were ordered to provide trams for the Trafford Park Line planned to open in 2020, while in the interim supporting a service between MediaCityUK and Manchester city centre and other capacity enhancements. In September 2014, a further 16 were ordered; the final one of which was delivered in October 2016, bringing the fleet up to 120.
In July 2018, a further 27 were ordered to help relieve overcrowding. These are scheduled to be delivered from February 2020 to June 2021.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Length||Capacity||Number||Fleet Numbers||Routes|
|M5000||Tram||50||80||28.4 metres||60–66||146||120||3001–3120||All lines||2009–2021||2009–present|
Metrolink has one Special Purpose Vehicle from 1991. Numbered 1027 with its support wagon 1028, it is a bespoke diesel-powered vehicle with a crane, inspection platform, mobile workshop, and capacity for a driver and three passengers. It was designed to assist with vehicle recovery and track and line repairs.
To commence operations, a fleet of 26 T-68 trams manufactured by AnsaldoBreda in Italy was delivered in 1992.To provide extra trams for the Eccles Line, six modified T-68A trams were purchased in 1999. The T-68A vehicles were based on the original T-68s but had modifications replacing destination rollblinds with dot matrix displays, and retractable couplers and covered bogies necessary for the high proportion of on-street running close to motor traffic.
Three of the earlier T-68 fleet were similarly equippedand were known as T-68Ms. Mechanically and electrically, the T-68M vehicles were essentially a T-68 with modifications to its brakes, mirrors, and speed limiters to suit the Eccles line. Initially only these vehicles were permitted to operate the Eccles line but the entire fleet except for 3 (1018, 1019, 1020) were modified between 2008 and 2012 for universal running, under a programme known as the T-68X Universal Running programme.
The newer M5000 trams proved to be considerably more reliable than the T-68/A fleet; which averaged 5,000 miles between breakdowns, while the M5000's averaged 20,000 miles. This led to a decision in 2012 to withdraw the entire fleet from service and replace them with M5000's. All of the T-68 and T-68As were withdrawn between April 2012 and April 2014.
Tram no. 1007, the first to pass through the City Centre on the opening day, is due to be restored at Heaton Park Tramway.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Length||Capacity||Number||Fleet Numbers||Routes operated||Built||Years operated|
|T-68||Tram||50||80||29m||86||122||26||1001–1026|| Bury-Altrincham-Piccadilly |
In 2002, in the lead up to Manchester hosting the Commonwealth Games, a requirement to increase capacity on for the event led to Metrolink investigating the purchase of redundant second-hand USSLRV vehicles from the Muni Metro system in San Francisco.To this end, two were procured for testing and shipped to the UK, with one taken to Metrolink's Queen's Road depot. In the end, the proposal was not taken forward as the vehicles were found to be unsuitable for use in the UK.
The Department for Transport reported passenger journeys for the 2018/19 financial year at 43.7 million; a 6.1% increase from 41.2 million the previous year.Patronage has risen steadily since its opening, from a start-point of 8.1 million in the 1992/93 fiscal year. Travel increased from 18.2 million journeys in 2001/02 to 20 million journeys in 2008/09; numbers fell to 18.7 million in 2009 while parts of the system were closed for upgrades, but recovered to 19.6 million for the 2009/10 fiscal year. Metrolink revised its method for calculating passenger boardings in 2010/11, meaning figures are not directly comparable with previous years.
A survey in 2012 revealed that 12%, or around one in 10 people in Greater Manchester use Metrolink to travel to work, and 8% use the system every day.The system is most commonly used by 21- to 30-year olds, and was used most markedly by residents of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury — accounting for around a third of their commuter journeys.
|Estimated passenger journeys made on Metrolink per financial year|
|Year||Passenger journeys||Year||Passenger journeys||Year||Passenger journeys||Year||Passenger journeys|
|Estimates provided by TfGM to the Department for Transport, based on sales from ticket machines.|
A survey in 2012 revealed that passengers who used Metrolink everyday for commuting rated service levels as poor and/or unreliable, with those respondents particularly frustrated by delays and disruptions.TfGM recognised that the older vehicles in its fleet – the T68/T68As — were outdated and the cause of much disruption, and agreed to replace them with M5000s by 2014. Among those who used Metrolink less regularly, the system scored far better in the survey. A survey in 2013 by the non-departmental government body Passenger Focus found that of the five major light rail systems in the United Kingdom – Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram, NET, Midland Metro and Blackpool tramway – Metrolink had the lowest overall satisfaction rating in the United Kingdom. Respondents were surveyed on value for money, punctuality, seating availability, tram stops and overall satisfaction. Metrolink was below average on all criteria, and 47% believed Metrolink was value for money compared to a national average of 60%.
Subsequent surveys have shown increases in passenger satisfaction. A further survey in late 2015 by watchdog Transport Focus, found that satisfaction levels had increased; 89% of passengers surveyed said they were either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with their overall journey, up from 83% in 2013, but still below the national average of 92%. It also found that 58% felt the service was value for money.The national average rating for value for money on all tram networks was 69%. The follow up survey in 2016 found further improvements, with 90% of respondents reporting they were either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with their overall journey, compared to the national average of 93%. 62% now felt the service was value for money, against a national average still of 69%, which although improved was still the lowest ranking of the six systems covered by the survey.
Unlike many other public transport systems, Metrolink receives no public subsidy, as its operating costs are met entirely from fare revenue. Fares are reviewed yearly and are changed to meet operating costs which may change with inflation. Fares were frozen for four years from January 2014, in order to compensate passengers for the disruption caused during the network's expansion, but rose by an average of 5.93% in January 2018. In 2018/19, Metrolink brought in £82.1 million of revenue, which worked out as an average income of £1.88 per journey.
Manchester Metrolink has many tramway sections, along which trams share the highway with other road traffic and pedestrians. Trams are equipped with a two-tone standard horn and a louder warning horn which is primarily intended for use on former railway routes but can be used anywhere.A number of fatal incidents have occurred on the network since opening in 1992:
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is the public body responsible for co-ordinating transport services throughout Greater Manchester in North West England. The organisation traces its origins to the Transport Act 1968, when the SELNEC Passenger Transport Executive was established to co-ordinate public transport in and around Manchester. Between 1974 and 2011, it was known as the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE), until a reform of local government in Greater Manchester granted it more powers and prompted a corporate rebranding. The strategies and policies of Transport for Greater Manchester are set by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and its Transport for Greater Manchester Committee.
The Oldham Loop Line was a local railway route in Greater Manchester, England, used by trains that ran from Manchester Victoria to Rochdale via Oldham Mumps. Services on the line at the time of its closure were operated by Northern Rail.
Oldham Mumps is a tram stop on the Oldham and Rochdale Line (ORL) of Greater Manchester's light-rail Metrolink system in the Mumps area of Oldham which opened in 2014.
Manchester Airport station is a railway, tram, bus and coach station at Manchester Airport, England which opened at the same time as the second air terminal in 1993. The station is 9 3⁄4 miles (15.7 km) south of Manchester Piccadilly, situated at the end of a short branch from the Styal Line which is accessed via a triangular junction between Heald Green and Styal stations. Manchester Metrolink tram services were extended to the airport in November 2014 and operate to Manchester Victoria.
Milnrow is a tram stop on the Oldham and Rochdale Line (ORL) of Greater Manchester's light-rail Metrolink system. It opened to passengers on 28 February 2013 and is located in Milnrow, a part of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, England.
Newhey is a tram stop on the Oldham and Rochdale Line (ORL) of Greater Manchester's light-rail Metrolink system. It opened to passengers on 28 February 2013 and is located in Newhey, a suburban village the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, England.
Deansgate-Castlefield is a tram stop on Greater Manchester's Metrolink light rail system, on Deansgate in the Castlefield area of Manchester city centre. It opened on 27 April 1992 as G-Mex tram stop, taking its name from the adjacent G-Mex Centre, a concert, conference and exhibition venue; the G-Mex Centre was rebranded as Manchester Central in 2007, prompting the Metrolink stop to be renamed on 20 September 2010. The station underwent redevelopment in 2014–15 to add an extra platform in preparation for the completion of the Second City Crossing in 2016–17.
West Didsbury is a tram stop on the South Manchester Line (SML) of Greater Manchester's light-rail Metrolink system. It opened to passengers on 23 May 2013, in West Didsbury, South Manchester, England.
East Didsbury is a tram stop on Greater Manchester's light rail Metrolink system, and the terminus of the system's South Manchester Line (SML). It is on the east side of Kingsway in East Didsbury, close to Manchester's boundary with Stockport. It was built as part of Phase 3b of the network's expansion and opened on 23 May 2013.
Withington is a tram stop on the South Manchester Line (SML) of Greater Manchester's light-rail Metrolink system. Located on the west side of Princess Road on the fringe of Withington in south Manchester, England, it was built as part of Phase 3b of the network's expansion, and opened on 23 May 2013 in a cutting within a section of the former Cheshire Lines Committee railway.
Burton Road is a stop on the South Manchester Line (SML) of Greater Manchester's light rail Metrolink system, on Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester, England. The stop was built as part of Phase 3b of the network's expansion, and opened on 23 May 2013 on a section of the former Midland Railway. It is the closest stop to Withington Community Hospital.
The Bombardier M5000 is a model of light rail passenger vehicle. It is part of Bombardier Transportation's Flexity Swift range of vehicles, built specifically as a high-floor, articulated bi-directional tram to operate solely on the Manchester Metrolink system in England. The Metrolink system is the only tram network in the United Kingdom capable of running vehicles in multiple and subsequently the M5000s can operate as either a single vehicle or coupled together to form a "double" unit.
The history of Metrolink begins with its conception as Greater Manchester's light rail system in 1982 by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, and spans its inauguration in 1992 and the successive phases of expansion.
Exchange Square tram stop is a stop in the City Zone of Greater Manchester's Metrolink light rail system, in Exchange Square opposite the Manchester Arndale shopping centre in Manchester city centre. It is part of the Second City Crossing (2CC).
This timeline of Metrolink lists significant events in the history of Greater Manchester's light rail network, also referred to as Manchester Metrolink.
The Eccles Line is a tram line of the Manchester Metrolink in Greater Manchester running from Manchester to Eccles via Salford Quays, with a short spur to MediaCityUK. It was opened in phases during 1999–2000 as part of the second phase of the system's development. The spur to MediaCityUK was opened in 2010. The line contains a mixture of reserved track beds and a street running section.
This is a list of confirmed or proposed future developments of the Manchester Metrolink light rail system.
Zone 1 of the Manchester Metrolink, light rail network, is the part of the system where trams run through the streets of Manchester city centre. Zone 1 forms the heart of the system where all of the other lines converge. The Zone was first opened in 1992 as the "City Zone", with a three-way street-running line across the city centre. The Second City Crossing (2CC), constructed to ease congestion on the original route, opened in 2017.
The Order grants exemptions from certain requirements of railways legislation currently applying to the Greater Manchester Light Rapid Transit System ("Metrolink") ...
GMPTE own the Greater Manchester light rapid transit system – known as Metrolink.