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Metrolink ‘big bang’ development complete

Second City Crossing is complete, adding a new tram line to Manchester’s Metrolink network

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A tram line that has taken three years and £165m to complete has been finished and opened to the public. The new line, named the Second City Crossing, now runs from St Peter’s Square to Victoria Station.

The project to expand the tram lines first began in 2009, and has seen the size of the Manchester Metrolink rail network treble in size since its opening. The Manchester Metrolink light rail network boasts 93 stops and covers almost 60 miles of track in total, and is owned by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

The development as a whole has seen 57 new stops created, along with 61km of new track laid, and won many awards such as ‘Major Civil Engineering Project of the Year over £50m 2015’ (British Construction Industry Awards), and ‘National Rail’s Civil Engineering Achievement of the Year 2015’ amongst many others.

Chair of the TfGM committee Andrew Fender said: “Having chaired a strategy group from 1982 — which developed the Metrolink concept — I am extremely proud, 35 years later, to see the completion of the Second City Crossing, and with it our phenomenal and multi-award winning ‘Phase 3’ expansion programme.

“It’s been a remarkable journey, one I’m privileged to have seen first-hand, and my thanks goes to all those who’ve worked so hard to turn those early dreams and ambitions into a reality and who have, ultimately, delivered a world-class transport system to the people of Greater Manchester.”

The contract for the ‘big bang’ development has been delivered by MPT, a collaborative undertaking by VolkerRail and Laing O’Rourke in consortium with Thales. VolkerRail have stated that they were responsible with Laing O’Rourke for the “design, construction and maintenance of the civil engineering and track”, while Thales were in charge of the tram operating systems.

Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon, is quoted by VolkerRail as saying: “This is the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken here, and we believe it will act as a catalyst to create new jobs and opportunities.” The project has seen over 2 million man hours completed by in excess of 2,300 employees.

Further plans for the tram network in Manchester include a 350m line being build to the Trafford Centre, and work has already begun on this.