Transport for Greater Manchester has announced that Sunday 26 February will see the start of passenger services on Manchester Metrolink’s Second City Crossing (2CC), marking the completion of the system’s GBP1.5bn (EUR1.76bn) ‘Big Bang’ expansion programme.
The 1.3km (0.8-mile) route is designed to reduce bottlenecks in Manchester city centre as the system expands, running from a new stop at St Peter’s Square along Cross Street to stops at Exchange Square and Victoria.
The first phase of the 2CC opened from Victoria to a new stop at Exchange Square in December 2015. Fast-tracked thanks to the European Regional Development Fund, this section allowed a six-minute daytime service to run between Shaw and Crompton, Oldham and Exchange Square from Monday to Saturdays.
The ‘Big Bang’ programme has seen extensions to MediaCityUK, East Didsbury, Rochdale via Oldham, Ashton and Manchester Airport open since 2010, growing the network to 93 stops; 2CC construction was completed late in 2016, with the first test tram running between St Peter’s Square and Exchange Square in the early hours of 1 December.
Once fully open, the new line will allow Manchester Airport services to run to Deansgate-Castlefield and, later this year, on to Victoria. Services that currently terminate at Deansgate-Castlefield and Exchange Square will continue across the city centre to Shaw and Crompton and East Didsbury.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “Not only will the Second City Crossing offer more trams through the city – on a more flexible, reliable tram network – but also a fantastic new view of historic Manchester landmarks such as the Royal Exchange and Manchester Town Hall.”
In early January work began on the GBP350m Trafford Park line, a new 5.5km (3.4-mile) six-stop route that will offer new connections to over 1300 businesses at Trafford Park, Europe’s largest industrial estate, as well as major visitor attractions such as Old Trafford football stadium, the Imperial War Museum North and EventCity.