The new city centre Exchange Square tram stop is set to open on Sunday 6 December, subject to successful completion of testing and commissioning work in the coming days.
The new stop is part of the Second City Crossing, the new tram line through the city centre which is due to open fully in 2017. Work on the new line has meant the closure of Cross Street during 2015 adding to the extensive roadworks, building sites, collapsed Mancunian Way flyover and knock-on congestion problems that have repeatedly brought traffic in Manchester to a gridlock in the past 12 months. Next year will see work continue on the Second City Crossing in Princess Street, as the new line extends around the corner from Cross Street.
The Exchange Square island stop between Corn Exchange, Printworks, Marks & Spencer, Selfridges and the Arndale Centre in the busy shopping and leisure core will initially serve passengers travelling on the Rochdale line from Shaw & Crompton via Victoria Station and Exchange Square.
Transport for Greater Manchester Metrolink director, Peter Cushing, said: “We’ve pulled out all the stops to get the new line to Exchange Square up and running before Christmas, which will be great news for the city and particularly Rochdale via Oldham line customers.
“In the days ahead we’ll be in the last stages of an extensive testing and commissioning process to get the stop, surrounding roads and Metrolink drivers ready for services going live.
“Services to Exchange Square will also see us open a new platform at Victoria stop, meaning some changes for passengers and trams.
“Our customers’ safety is a priority and we’ll have staff at both stops in the first weeks of service to make sure that people are taking extra care and looking out for trams running in different areas than people are used to.
“While most Metrolink services will remain the same from 6 December, I’d advise all passengers to visit our website to see what the new Exchange Square stop opening will mean for them.”
The brand new Exchange Square stop and Second City Crossing is being delivered by TfGM and its delivery partners, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff. The principal contractor is M-Pact Thales, a consortium consisting of Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales, with RATP Dev responsible for operating the Metrolink network.
The new Second City Crossing line will start at St Peter’s Square and run down Princess Street, along Cross Street and Corporation Street, Exchange Square and into Manchester Victoria station.