On Monday I was invited by Cllr Keith Whitmore (Chair of Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority) to view the progress of the Chorlton Metrolink along with the local Chorlton Ward Councillors.
We were invited to a special tour of the new South Manchester Metrolink line to see how far the project has progressed since work started last year shown round by the Metrolink project managers.
I was delighted to have the chance to see what progress has been made over recent months. Now that you can see the tracks being laid it feels as though Metrolink will be in Chorlton soon. Last time I visited the site it just looked like a building site. Now it looks more like a tram line for the 21st Century.
The progress that has been made is fantastic and we were shown around site with this notable progress to report:
- Several structures along the line are being refurbished, with work ranging from grit blasting and refinishing to deck and parapet replacement.
- Construction of the new route is also continuing apace in other areas. Concrete retaining walls at Trafford Bar have been constructed to enable the junction with the Altrincham line to be installed.
- Track slab and rails are now in place along much of the new line and foundations are in place at the Firswood ands Chorlton stops.
- At the St Werburgh’s Road stop, piling work adjacent to Elladene Park has been completed and construction of a footpath ramp from St Werburgh’s Road bridge down to the cycle path and the new stop is well underway.
- A new lift shaft and a staircase off St Werburgh’s Road, to the level of the cycle path, are being installed.
The 1.7-mile extension to St Werburgh’s Road in Chorlton will run south from Trafford Bar along a disused railway line, with three new stops at Firswood, Chorlton and St Werburgh’s Road. The Metrolink is all on schedule and is due to open in spring 2011, despite what the press are reporting to the contrary.
There have been mutterings about the fact that Metrolink is going to cancelled, members of the ITA have been reassured, and I have been personally reassured during discussions with the Minster for Transport and am absolutely certain Metrolink will be delivered as promised. I even offered the MEN journalist a £500 bet so that he could put his money where his story was, but he refused.