16 June 2009

Green light for Altrincham tram upgrade

A £3.5 million package of upgrades to the Metrolink tram line linking central Manchester with Altrincham was given the go-ahead by the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) yesterday. This upgrade will cover the renovation of all tram stops en route and the transport interchange in Altrincham town centre.

Just under half the money (£1.5 million) will go towards new cctv, improved disabled access and better lighting. The make-over will also coincide with the new-look livery and corporate image Metrolink is planning on introducing over the next year or so: the dour grey and light turquoise being replaced by a more easy-on-the-eye yellow and silver. The new design was commissioned to be applied to the new-look trams that are due later in the year. All existing trams will be treated to the new livery, too.

The major works, forming the backbone of the £3.5 million upgrade plan will take place in August, when service along the entire line will be suspended to allow the replacement of worn-out overhead lines and to see connections built into the track for the forthcoming Metrolink network extensions.

In a further piece of work scheduled for the August closure, the track layout at Cornbrook will be extensively remodelled to accommodate the new MediaCityUK service and to provide greater operational flexibility and service availability. Replacement bus services will be provided while the line is closed, and a major information campaign will be launched next month to keep passengers up to date.

The upgrade forms part of a £600 million expansion of the Metrolink network, overseen by GMITA, which will see new lines built to Chorlton in South Manchester, MediaCityUK in Salford, Oldham and Rochdale, and Droylsden in Tameside. A new depot is also being built on land next to Trafford Bar Metrolink stop. (GWB)

If you're visiting Manchester and have a spare hour or two on your hands, we heartily recommend the Manchester Transport Museum. It's within 5 minutes walking distance from the Woodlands Road tram stop or catch a Bury-bound First bus, alighting at Queens Road and follow signs to the museum, nestled behind the First bus depot.