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Manchester to Trafford Park

Background Information

Trafford Park was once a green, tree-covered estate, complete with historic house, ornamental lake and roaming deer. It had been the ancestral home of the de Trafford family for generations. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, massive changes were about to take place. A determined campaign for the Manchester Ship Canal was underway. The fourth Sir Humphrey de Trafford was a staunch opponent of the proposed Canal. His son, Sir Humphrey Francis de Trafford, was not so opposed to the Ship Canal. In 1896 he put Trafford Park up for sale.

The Estate was purchased by a company promoter, Ernest Terah Hooley, a colourful character renowned for his business ventures. Wasting no time he formed Trafford Park Estates Ltd with the new company being registered on 17th August 1896. Proposals for use of the site changed as a result of a meeting between Hooley and Marshall Stevens, General Manager of the Manchester Ship Canal Company. As a result the Trafford Park industrial Estate was developed.

Fast forward to the the 1960s; employment in the park began to decline as companies closed their premises in favour of newer, more efficient plants elsewhere. The UK government declared an Enterprise Zone for part of Trafford Park, along with Salford Quays. Unfortunately this did little to reverse the decline. Trafford Park Development Corporation was formed in 1987 to assume responsibility for an Urban Development Area that included Trafford Park and Salford Quays. This development corporation was successful and the park is once again a major centre of employment in Trafford

Statutory powers to construct and operate a Trafford Line Metrolink extension were first acquired under the Greater Manchester (Light Rapid Transit System) Act 1992 and the Greater Manchester (Light Rapid Transit System) (Trafford Park) Order 2001. Total private sector funding was required. This line was included in the TIF bid proposals, which were rejected in the December 2008 referendum. In a post-TIF scheme prioritisation exercise, the line was excluded from phase 3b.

New Trafford Line Route

The nature and location of developments within Trafford Park have changed. TfGM developed a ‘Reference Scheme Alignment’ which has been revised to maximise benefits and serve key demand centres. Then an Outline Business Case was made for the line. Funding will use the Earn Back model part of the Greater Manchester City Deal.

TfGM ran a major public consultation from July to September 2014, on the plans to build this line. Following this consultation, the route was modified slightly.

The consultation results were reported to the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee and Greater Manchester Combined Authority; TfGM sought formal approval to make an application for a Transport and Works Act Order. The application includes a Transport Assessment and an Environment Statement for the scheme.

On 11 November 2014 TfGM applied for powers under the Transport and Works Act 1992. They were granted on 13 October 2016.

The line has been built by contractors M-Pact Thales, who also built the phase 3 extensions. The final concrete pour took place on 5th November 2019 on a 15-metre stretch of track by ITV studios.

Overnight on Sunday 10th November; the first test tram traversed the Trafford Park line track, travelling along Trafford Wharf Road between the Pomona Metrolink stop and Warren Bruce Road.

See TfGM’s Metrolink Trafford Park Line web page for more details.

Route Description

trafford line diagram (17.8KB)

This is based on information published for the consultation, TWA Order application and subsequently by TfGM. The Limits of Deviation in the application were wide enough to allow changes to the plans

See City Centre for a description of Victoria, Piccadilly, Deansgate–Castlefield and the lines between them; also City South from Deansgate–Castlefield to Pomona. On the diagram light green represents operating Metrolink route and stops. Trafford Park line is shown strawberry. Stop names to be confirmed.

Starting at the existing Pomona stop the route is approximately 5.5km long and has six new stops. It provides a link between Manchester City Centre and the employment and regeneration areas of Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre retail and leisure complex. The majority of the new route is on segregated alignments alongside roads with signal controlled road crossings.

Pomona is an island platform stop at the south–western end of the Pomona viaduct. It has a lift and stairs linking platform and ground levels.

Where the Eccles line turns right to cross over the ship canal, the Trafford Line continues straight ahead, descending to ground level. A former dock railway segregated alignment, which crosses under Trafford Road and is fenced off from the existing footpath is used.

Trafford Wharf Road, between the northern end of Sir Alex Ferguson Way and eastern end of Victoria Place also Wharf End itself have been closed to road traffic. Sir Alex Ferguson Way has become one lane in each direction, with a new two way link to Victoria Place. There is now an east to north connection from Wharfside Way to Sir Alex Ferguson Way.

Wharfside stop is on the south side of the Chip Canal, largely on the grounds of the former Sam Platt’s with some on the pavement and road surface of the closed part of Trafford Wharf Road.

The revised alignment continues west through the site of Wharfside Business Centre; then behind 76 Trafford Wharf Road using part of the wide path alongside the southern bank of the Manchester Ship Canal; then passes through the plot east of Quay West.

Imperial War Museum stop is off–street between Quay West building and a slightly realigned Trafford Wharf Road. South of the Imperial War Museum the route continues along a segregated alignment in the centre of the carriageway before turning left into another segregated alignment on the west side of Warren Bruce Road. There will be a long trailing crossover/siding, with walk way alongside, between outbound and inbound lines; enabling an increased service frequency on match days.

Metrolink crosses Village Circle to an off–street route along north side of Village Way. A parallel traffic lane allows eastbound traffic from Village Way to Warren Bruce Road and Wharfside Way without crossing the tracks. Village stop is east of Third Avenue. The junction of the northern part of Third Avenue and Village Way is closed to vehicular traffic.

At Mosley Road the off–street route moves from the north side to the central reservation of Village Way. Parkway stop is immediately east of Parkway Circle, which is crossed on east and west ‘sides’ by the route which then crosses one carriageway to run on a segregated alignment west of Park Way A Park and Ride facility, include blue badge bays, is proposed near to Parkway Circle.

The route crosses the Bridgewater Canal on a new structure. It turns right; running off–street to the north of Barton Dock Road. Peel Circle has been re-modelled into a somewhat squashed shape; EventCity tram stop is between this and Barton Square.

Then the alignment crosses to the southern side of Barton Dock Road; running in a segregated corridor and terminating at the Trafford Centre stop, near the Selfridges entrance.

Trafford 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.