Manchester to explore future tram-train network

Councillors in Manchester have backed a new study to look into the feasability of introducing tram-trains across the north west’s light and heavy rail network.

Manchester follows Sheffield where the UK’s pilot tram-train project is currently underway. From 2016, the new vehicles will link Rotherham Parkgate and Sheffield city centre as part of a two-year trial of the technology.

The study will look at the potential cost and benefits of establishing the new routes, starting with the Manchester – Marple via Bredbury route, which was previously identified as the most economically viable.

Other routes that will be examined in the new report are; Manchester – Glossop, Manchester – Atherton – Wigan, Manchester – Sale – Altrencham – Hale/Knutsford, Manchester – East Didsbury – Hazel Grove and Stockport – Altrincham.

The Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee chairman, Councillor Andrew Fender, said: “Track-sharing between heavy and light rail trains with street-running capability is already well established in continental Europe, especially in Germany.

“Not only are there numerous benefits to commuters, such as increased capacity and frequency and better inner-city connectivity, but tram-trains also have the potential to be financially self-sustaining.

“At this point however, tram-train very much remains a long-term project for Greater Manchester, making it difficult to identify potential implementation dates or funding.”