Metrolink’s Trafford Park Line took another step forward today with track laying at intu Trafford Centre, the final destination of this major new extension.
Cllr Mark Aldred, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee; Zoe Inman, intu Trafford Centre’s Operations Manager and James Whittaker, Group Development Director for Peel Land and Property were among the attendees to witness the milestone on Barton Dock Road.
The £350m Trafford Park Line extension, which is due to open in 2020, will add a further 5.5km and six stops to Metrolink, already the UK’s largest light rail network. The new line is being funded by Greater Manchester’s Devolution Deal, which was signed by the city-region’s leaders in 2014. Trafford Council are providing £20m towards the project.
Cllr Mark Aldred, Chair of the TfGM Committee said: “Track laying at intu Trafford Centre is another large symbolic step forward for the Trafford Park Line. The great progress we have made so far is due to the hard work, expertise and co-operation of everyone working on this project, including Trafford Council, MPT, intu Trafford Centre, EventCity and the Peel Group.
“Trafford Park and intu Trafford Centre are two of the economic hearts of our city-region. When it is open the new line will provide a vital link to them and the jobs, cultural attractions and shopping along the route. This means people will have a real alternative to driving, meaning fewer cars on the road, less congestion and less pollution.”
Track is also now being laid at EventCity, Parkway, Village Way and Warren Bruce Road. Thanks to close partnership working between TfGM and the utility companies, over 190km of infrastructure – including electricity, gas, water and telecommunications pipes and cabling – has been rerouted. The recent completion of this utility diversion work means work can continue on schedule to construct the new tram infrastructure along the full route.
Cllr Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council, said: “This scheme is hugely important for Trafford Park and the areas around intu Trafford Centre, both of which are essential to our local economy; not only do they provide thousands of jobs, they also attract a significant number of visitors while also delivering continued growth, regeneration and investment. So it’s great to see this project progressing to the next stage; once it’s completed, the Trafford Park line will be a key tram service for the people of Trafford and beyond.”
intu Trafford Centre is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. It has more than 200 stores and leisure attractions and attracts millions of annual visitors and has thousands of employees.
Zoe Inman, Operations Manager for intu Trafford Centre, said: “We are delighted to see the Trafford Park extension progressing at such a pace and are looking forward to seeing it open in 2020. The two new stops will provide excellent access to the centre linking us to Trafford Park, Manchester city centre and the wider Metrolink network.”
James Whittaker, Group Development Director for Peel Land and Property, said: “It’s fantastic to see the extent of progress being made by Transport for Greater Manchester on the Trafford Park extension to Metrolink. We are delighted to be supporting TfGM and Trafford Council in bringing Metrolink services to hugely popular destinations within TraffordCity, including intu Trafford Centre and EventCity.”
Further progress will be made in the coming months with early work taking place at Pomona stop to start to connect the Trafford Park Line to the existing Metrolink network. This will involve the temporary closure of the Eccles Line between Cornbrook and Eccles, including the MediaCityUK spur, from Saturday 28 July to Thursday 9 August 2018 (inclusive). In September, beams will be installed to form a new bridge to carry the new Metrolink line over the Bridgewater Canal adjacent to Park Way – another major milestone.