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31st January 2019

Grayling works with Burnham on greater control over transport

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling promises to explore the expansion of the Metrolink in Greater Manchester
Grayling works with Burnham on greater control over transport
Photo: Dan Sellers @ Wikimedia Commons

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling came to Manchester last Friday to meet with Mayor Andy Burnham, to discuss developing the Metrolink, and the use of the tram and train lines, to help tackle congestion.

A press conference was held at the new Wharfside tram stop close to Old Trafford, where both committed to “exploring a range of proposals for further expansion” of the ongoing growth of Manchester’s transport.

Chris Grayling, who was recently criticised for the handling of Union strikes by Northern rail, spoke ahead of the meeting: “Metrolink has been transformative for Greater Manchester and I want to see the network expand.

“A Greater Manchester tram-train also has the potential to seamlessly integrate our existing rail and tram tracks, and services. We will work closely to explore proposals which would see Transport for Greater Manchester running more services, underlining our belief in greater local control.”

Trafford Park has recently gained a new tram line, which has been supported by the government as part of their aims to eliminate the ‘North-South divide’.

It was recently questioned whether Greater Manchester should have trams and buses 24-hours a day. The ever-growing popularity of Manchester’s night-life, with the likes of Warehouse Project and Parklife bringing in thousands of students to the city, has suggested that introducing these services will only make the streets safer at night.

Trafford councillor Stephen Adshead said during the conference that he would like to see night-time services on the Metrolink, and added that Night Time Economic Advisor and Warehouse Project founder Sacha Lord, and Greater Manchester Police, would both like that too.

Adshead said: “We need a better public transport system and better public safety, and it’s not just party-goers, it’s people who work night shifts.”

In response to this, Roger Jones, a councillor on the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said that the answer to these problems stemmed from issues of government funding. Burnham agreed with this view.

Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is a growing city-region, but our transport network and infrastructure is holding us back.  The people of Greater Manchester deserve a transport system that works for us both now and in the future.

“I also welcome the government’s commitment to working together to deliver bus reform, and secure the best possible outcomes for Greater Manchester and the North from both Northern Powerhouse Rail and High Speed 2 (HS2).”

Prior to the meeting it was announced in a statement by Chris Grayling that failure to build the second part of the HS2 line would be a “dereliction of duty”, after 40 business and civic leaders penned an open letter questioning the certainty that plans were going ahead.

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