LRTA logo Light Rail Transit Association
Light Rail for better public transport

Manchester to Altrincham

Altrincham line diagram (22.6KB)

This is the southern part of Metrolink phase one

Manchester (Deansgate–Castlefield) to Altrincham is approximately 12.5 kilometres. The first section from Deansgate–Castlefield is via the CLC viaduct and the grade separated junction at Cornbrook. The rest of the line runs over former MSJA route. From south of Timperley to Altrincham is over the Network Rail part of the MSJA route.

During July 1990, the Timperley to Altrincham layout was re-modeled for Metrolink. Chester – Altrincham – Manchester trains now run via Stockport.

See City Centre for a description of Victoria, Piccadilly, Deansgate–Castlefield and the lines between them; also City South for details from Deansgate–Castlefield to Trafford Bar.

Trafford Bar, the name derives from Chester Road having had a toll bar here at one time. Metrolink’s Trafford depot is bounded by the line, Ayres Road and the Didsbury line.

Old Trafford diagram (6.2KB)

Old Trafford stop was upgraded in 2009. The Altrincham bound platform has been extended to 120 metres. A new track level pedestrian crossing replaced the old underpass. Alongside Lancashire County Cricket Ground, a new 120 metre long platform replaced the old Manchester bound one.

Now that the TMS line of sight tram operating system is in use, there can be two double trams in each platform.

In 2018 the TMS was altered to enable moves from the outbound line and the depot to the inbound platform.

A new gated queuing system has been provided for the whole stop. It will be used at the busiest times — cricket or football match days and during major events. Manchester United’s stadium is about half a mile away. On average 2,000 passenger journeys are made from or to the stop each day. An extra 7,500 are made when Manchester United have a home game. A simpler arrangement will operate on other days.

Stretford was provided with ramps to the platforms when converted to Metrolink. The old station steps and footbridge have been replaced by new steps from street level to platforms. Stretford town centre is close to the stop. From Stretford to Timperley, Metrolink tracks run alongside or close to the Bridgewater Canal.

At Dane Road stop a lift for the inbound platform and a ramped path for the outbound platform were provided in 1992. In 2009 the stairs between the footbridge and platforms were opened up.

Sale stop is next to the town centre. A lift for the inbound platform was provided in 1992. A ramped path for the outbound platform already existed. Previously closed doors at the top of the stairways were removed and former doorways from the pavement into the booking office lobby blocked up during August 2009. Also the platform canopies have been re–roofed. During May 2010 the booking office lobby was closed off. A new Metro News shop opened, using the combined former booking hall and office, in December 2013.

At Brooklands, by early 2004, the stairs from the Manchester bound platform had been opened up and a new access to the pavement provided at the top; also the former footbridge had been removed. In 2009 the disused cycle store was demolished. The former booking office lobby and stairs have been closed off; a new stairway has been built, between pavement and station approach levels, on the eastern side of the station building. Outbound platform access is from the station approach road. Line of sight operation on the outbound now extends to just south of the stop.

Altrincham to Timperley track diagram (19KB)

At Timperley, as part of the original Metrolink conversion works, two lifts were built linking platforms with street level. In 2001 the old wooden footbridge and stairs were replaced by new concrete stairways. The Manchester bound platform stairway is from the street level lift access point to the platform. A formerly bricked up doorway in the wall was opened up in 2009, this is now the access to the outbound platform lift. The Altrincham bound platform stairway is from the pavement, on the eastern side of the station building, to the platform. The former booking office and lobby has become a coffee and cake bar. Line of sight operation on the inbound now starts just north of the stop.

Just south of Timperley station there is a turn back siding facing Manchester between inbound and outbound lines. This enables trams to reverse at Timperley, should some difficulty prevent running over the Network Rail line. The Metrolink control boundary is just north of the double to single Metrolink junction.

The Manchester to Chester via Northwich trains, which shared the Altrincham line with the British Rail electric trains, were diverted to run to and from Manchester via Stockport. This enabled the electrified line to be converted for use by Metrolink.

In July 1991 British Rail (BR) remodelled and resignalled the Altrincham area, totally separating the tracks to be used by trams and main line trains, in preparation for Metrolink.

From Deansgate Junction (DJ) (Altrincham), which is named after Deansgate Lane and has a level crossing, to just south of Navigation Road level crossing there are only two tracks. Widening the formation would have been prohibitively expensive so there are two bidirectional lines, one for Metrolink and the other for main line trains. Just north of DJ level crossing the Stockport and Manchester line comes in from the east and becomes a single line.

At Navigation Road stop Metrolink uses the western, formerly Manchester bound, platform while main line trains use the eastern platform.

Using the four track formation width between Navigation Road level crossing and Altrincham the layout, from west to east is now Metrolink inbound, Metrolink outbound, main line to Stockport and main line from Stockport.

At Altrincham station, Metrolink uses the terminal platforms from which the BR electric trains ran. Platform 1 has been shortened slightly and a level access route to platforms 2 and 3 built. The main lines from Chester via Northwich use the through platforms 3 and 4.

A new station footbridge has been built. It is on a new alignment. Lifts have been provided in 2015.

The old (1970s) bus interchange has been replaced by a new and brighter one which came into use on 7 December 2014. A solar panel energy system has been installed on the concourse roof. It consists of 53 Sharp 245w polycrystalline silicon solar cells. These panels will generate 9555 kWh of electricity and save 5.5 tonnes of CO2 each year, the greenhouse gas equivalent of two tonnes of waste sent to landfill.

The TfGM travelshop is now located in the booking office alongside platform 1; it also sells the full range of rail tickets.

Altrincham Line: top of page

This page was written and illustrated by Tony Williams. Contact if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.