The £350m extension to Greater Manchester’s light rail network opened on Sunday, despite concerns over coronavirus, to help key workers make essential journeys.
The line’s first service left Cornbrook for the Trafford Centre at 06:31 on Sunday morning to little fanfare.
Work on the line completed earlier this month, some seven months ahead of the schedule set by Transport for Greater Manchester.
The 3.4-mile extension was funded by Greater Manchester’s devolution deal, with a £20m contribution from Trafford Council, and was built by MPact Thales, a joint venture between VolkerRail, Laing O’Rourke, Thales, and WSP.
The line connects Cornbrook to the Trafford Centre with stops at the following stations:
- Wharfside, next to Manchester Ship Canal and close to Manchester United FC
- Imperial War Museum North, next to the museum
- Village, on Village Way near Village Circle and Third Avenue cafes and shops
- Parkway, at Parkway Circle roundabout
- Barton Dock Road, next to Barton Square and EventCity
- intu Trafford Centre
A statement from TfGM said that any decisions about reducing or cancelling services “would be made based on the latest national guidance and in the best interests of our staff and the travelling public and our overarching objective to help those who need to travel for essential reasons to continue to do so.”
TfGM has now taken the decision to go ahead with the opening of the new line but confirmed that the number of services across the network will be scaled down.
In January 2019 the Government backed early plans to extend the Metrolink network further to connect towns like Wilmslow, Marple and Wigan using existing railway lines. While in January this year it was announced Stockport was preparing a £1bn bid for a line connecting East Didsbury with the town centre.
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