The growth of Salford Quays is to be rewarded with improved transport links following an £8m grant from the North West Development Agency to double the frequency of Metrolink tram services through the area.
The number of services on the Eccles to Manchester city centre line stopping at Cornbrook and the Quays stations will increase from every 12 minutes to every 6 minutes in peak hours, matching some of the city centre Metrolink sections.
The NWDA funding will pay for additional tramcars from manufacturer Bombardier, doubling the current capacity to 10 trams per hour. The project also includes new track turn-back facilities at Cornbrook, new sidings and ancillary works.
The agency funding is part of a wider package of works totalling around £19m. The Metrolink service improvements to the Quays will be completed in 2010.
Cornbrook Station connects the Altrincham to Bury line with the Eccles to Manchester city centre line. Cornbrook is also an interchange point for the proposed future extensions of the network, including the new line to Manchester Airport.
Chris Farrow, chief executive of Central Salford urban regeneration company, said: "This is a very welcome confirmation of the NWDA's support. It brings a city centre level of accessibility and frequency of tram service to the whole of the Salford Quays area. The benefits arising from major investments in the Quays such as Media City UK will be reinforced by the improved Metrolink service connectivity."
The Quays is home to the Lowry and Imperial War Museum, North and attracts around 4m visitors a year. Around 15,500 people work and 3,500 live there. The Metrolink improvements will be delivered by Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, through an agreement with Salford City Council on behalf of Central Salford.