Formal public consultation will take place in spring 2014 in preparation for the construction of a £350m extension to Greater Manchester's light rail system.
Following consultation, a Transport & Works Act order application is expected to be submitted to the Department for Transport in the summer of next year seeking the powers needed to build the line.
Construction would start in winter 2015/16 with the line becoming operational in 2019.
Papers due to be discussed next week by the capital projects sub committee of Transport for Greater Manchester detail the latest plans for delivering the "long-standing investment priority".
The new line would extend as far as the Trafford Centre and could be lengthened to Port Salford at a later date, but this would require a separate project not yet costed or approved.
TfGM has spent the last three months developing the business case for the new line, which could be funded using the earnback model agreed between government and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities. Earnback allows the combined authorities of Greater Manchester to spend £1.2bn on infrastructure improvements which will be recouped through taxes as the economy rises.
Peter Cushing, Metrolink director, said the new line represents a "step change in public transport connectivity to the largest concentration of employment in Greater Manchester outside the [city centre] which has traditionally been poorly served by public transport. Over 1,300 businesses and 33,000 jobs are located in Trafford Park, with a significant number of people working there coming from across the GM conurbation. Future growth is forecast for Trafford Park, including new media industry developments already underway in the Trafford Wharfside area."
However, the emerging business case was described in Cushing's report as demonstrating only "medium value for money".
Cushing said talks were ongoing with Trafford Park Growth Strategy partnership members and Trafford Council over land allocation for the line.