Ian Watt from Engineering Consultancy WSP

This morning we welcomed Ian Watt from Engineering Consultancy WSP. In his current role he is working with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) on their growth plans for Metrolink in particular the new Trafford Park line which is currently in construction.

The Metrolink first opened in 1992 between Bury and Altrincham, it was the first 2nd generation tramway in the UK (using old ex railway infrastructure). The Eccles line opened in the year 2000, in total there are now 37 stops covering 23 miles

TfGM and its stake holders are investing £1.9 billion in new lines, with 43 million passenger journeys currently running and this number is growing you can see why. It is the largest rail system in the UK.

The Trafford Park line (a £350 million scheme), will be 5.5km long segregated from the highway to prevent trams being stuck in traffic, it will include 6 new stops through Trafford Park which houses 1,300 businesses employing 35,000 people (it is Europe’s largest trading estate). It will connect people to more visitor attractions e.g. Manchester United, Imperial War Museum, Event City and the Trafford Centre.


Key objectives include:

  • Regeneration and growth
  • Improving connectivity
  • Viable alternative to car use – tackling congestion
  • Improved access to leisure facilities

The line will run from Crumpsall on the Bury line out to Trafford at Pomona, terminating at the Trafford Centre. TfGM has already ordered 27 new trams for this line and will connect more park and ride facilities with the city centre.


Current status of the project:

The track has been laid in multiple locations with extensive highway works taking place. However construction around the Trafford Centre has had to stop between the months of October to January to allow for the seasonal traffic.

The tramway is over 35% installed and the project is currently slightly ahead of schedule. They are planning to start driver training by the end of 2019, which takes up to 6 months with the line becoming operational in autumn 2020.

Ian stated that they are having to work closely with the canals so not to damage any of 100 year old canal walls along with ITV as the tram runs behind the Coronation Street set and they need to minimise any wheel squeaks when the trams go past during filming (especially as this is the tightest corner of the line).


Future plans for TfGM:

  • To extend the airport line to Terminal 2
  • Link with the new HS2 station
  • To look at being able to use more existing rail tracks for trams

So as you can tell there are plenty of exciting times ahead and more growth plans from TfGM and we look forward to hearing more in the coming months and years ahead.


The raffle:

  • Cresta Court Hotel “Meal for 2” – won by Warren Brindle  of Water Wizard
  • Business card design and print from Corner House Design – Ian Watt @ TfGM
  • LinkedIn health check with Peter Collins of Find and Be Found – Simon Myatt of Cunning Plan Marketing


Upcoming events:

 Breakfast Matters meeting on 6th December with new members Maloneview (Sale) Limited, as Guest speakers with regard to the multi-million pound development in Sale.


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