Proposed developments of Manchester Metrolink

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This is a list of confirmed or proposed future developments of the Manchester Metrolink light rail system.

Confirmed developments[edit]

Trafford Park line[edit]

TfGM holds powers to commission a new line from Pomona to Port Salford via Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre,[1] and committed to procuring a funding mechanism for its construction in 2011.[2][3] Drawing on proposals made by Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council in 1984,[4] TfGM made this a strategic priority in each of its local transport plans since the Transport Act 2000, attesting that Metrolink provision will improve public access to key attractions, support the development of business and freight zones, and reduce traffic congestion on the M60 motorway.[3] In 2004, Peel Holdings raised concerns that the lack of Metrolink provision to the Trafford Centre may affect its Chill Factore development, and offered to contribute towards its cost.[5][6] In summer 2013, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership announced it may fund the construction of the line as far as a stop at the Trafford Centre using the Earnback mechanism of the Greater Manchester City Deal;[7] with an extension to Port Salford and Eccles to be developed and costed separately.[8][9] TfGM estimated that it would require £350,000,000 to open this route to passengers by its target of 2018/19 (subject to a satisfactory business case, Transport and Works Act Order and public consultation).[9] In November 2014, the UK Treasury confirmed earnback funding for the Trafford Park Line as part of the devolution deal for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.[10]

Proposed or suggested developments[edit]

Buckley Wells[edit]

Buckley Wells tram stop has been proposed to provide better passenger access in southern Bury, and would be on the Bury Line between Bury Interchange and Radcliffe tram stop.[11]

Middleton extension[edit]

As of 2013, Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council aspires to link Middleton to the Metrolink network by constructing a branch off the Bury Line routed from Bowker Vale tram stop to Middleton town centre.[12] Rochdale Council first proposed this extension of Metrolink to Middleton in 2008, and priced the scheme at £80 million.[13]

In June 2018, Transport for Greater Manchester signalled their support for a Middleton extension after a meeting with the council.[14]

In January 2019, it was revealed as part of a plan for new houses in Greater Manchester that the Metrolink would be extended to Middleton.[15]

Oldham extension[edit]

In January 2016, Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Royton, proposed two loop extensions to the metrolink system around Oldham:

  • A spur from Westwood tram stop on the Oldham and Rochdale line to Middleton town centre, then joining the Bury line near Bowker Vale, in line with the proposed Middleton extension.
  • The Ashton Loop, extending the line beyond Ashton town centre to Oldham Mumps.

Both would connect Rochdale to its neighbouring towns without the need to travel in and out of Manchester city centre. Initial high level feasibility work was undertaken by officials at Transport for Greater Manchester which demonstrated the route is technically possible.[16]

Salford expansion[edit]

In Salford City Council's 2004–2016 unitary development plan:

In January 2019, it was revealed as part of a plan for new houses in Greater Manchester that the Metrolink would be extended to Salford Stadium.[18]

Stalybridge extension[edit]

The Stockport–Stalybridge line as a proposed line of Metrolink

As of 2011, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council aspires to extend the East Manchester Line from Ashton-under-Lyne to Stalybridge.[19]

In January 2019, it was revealed as part of a plan for new houses in Greater Manchester that the Metrolink would be extended to Stalybridge.[20]

Stockport tram-train strategy[edit]

In January 2015 Stockport Metropolitan Borough adopted a Rail Strategy proposing substantial conversion of current rail alignments around Stockport to tram-train operation, running into an interchange at Stockport bus station. These proposed services expand on, and are consistent with, those outlined in the TfGM tram-train strategy document. Earlier plans (now discarded) had envisaged the Metrolink line to East Didsbury being extended to Stockport along the Mersey Valley. The revised plan proposes instead a revised alignment for this link via Edgeley and Stockport railway station.

In the Rail Strategy, Stockport MBC also outline longer term aspirations to establish tram-train services between Stockport town centre and Marple; and between Stockport town centre and Ashton town centre.[21]


Metrolink and the TfGM Committee have prepared five costed proposals for extending Metrolink using tram-train technology over the existing heavy rail network in the region; along the Mid-Cheshire Line (between Stockport and Hale), the Hope Valley Line (between Manchester and Marple), the Glossop Line (between Manchester and the dual termini at Hadfield and Glossop), the Manchester to Sheffield Line (between Manchester and Hazel Grove), and along the Manchester to Southport Line (between Manchester and Wigan via Atherton), with an estimated total funding requirement of £870 million as of 2013.[22] TfGM intend to proceed to the identification of potential rail industry funding options, subject to a review of lessons from a tram-train pilot scheme in Sheffield.[23]

Wythenshawe Loop[edit]

Although axed in 2005 to control costs, the Wythenshawe Loop on the Airport Line remains an aspiration of TfGM.[24] As of October 2014 there is renewed interest from TFGM, particularly as the route could link with HS2 Manchester Interchange.[25] It would create a loop from Roundthorn tram stop to the University Hospital of South Manchester (Wythenshawe Hospital) and Newall Green and back to Roundthorn, and improve access between Wythenshawe and Manchester city centre on a route which is physically impaired by the River Mersey and M60 motorway.[11][26]


  1. ^ GMPTE 2000.
  2. ^ "Greater Manchester Local Transport Plan 2" (PDF). Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority. March 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b TfGM & GMCA 2011, p. 46.
  4. ^ Holt 1992, p. 93.
  5. ^ "Salford Infrastructure Delivery Plan" (PDF). Salford City Council. February 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  6. ^ Scheerhout, John (18 August 2004). "'Ski tram' frozen out". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Trams to the Trafford Centre set for go-ahead". Manchester Evening News. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  8. ^ Williams, Jennifer (28 October 2013). "Second cross-city tram link gets green light". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  9. ^ a b Greater Manchester Combined Authority (26 July 2013). "Report for Resolution: Earnback Model, SEMMMS and Metrolink Trafford Park Extension" (PDF). Association of Greater Manchester Authorities. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Devolved Powers for Elected Mayor". Manchester Evening News. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Manchester Metrolink, United Kingdom". Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  12. ^ Coyle, Simon (11 July 2013). "Blueprint for town's future puts tram link in frame". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Tram link plans are put back on track". Manchester Evening News. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ | Retrieved 01 February 2016
  17. ^ a b c "City of Salford Unitary Development Plan 2004–2016 Saved Policies". Salford City Council. 2004. p. Accessibility. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  18. ^ [3]
  19. ^ TfGM & GMCA 2011, p. 85.
  20. ^ [4]
  21. ^ "Stockport Rail Strategy" (PDF). January 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  22. ^ "DfT Major Transport Scheme Devolution and the Identification of Future Transport Priorities for Greater Manchester" (PDF). Greater Manchester Local Transport Body. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  23. ^ "Metrolink bosses consider plans to run trams on train tracks". Manchester Evening News. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  24. ^ TfGM & GMCA 2011, p. 80.
  25. ^ "BBC News – Wythenshawe 'western loop' Metrolink tram line to be proposed". BBC News.
  26. ^ Kingsley, Nick (19 October 2007). "Manchester plays catch-up with Metrolink expansion". Railway Gazette International. London. Retrieved 12 January 2013.