Transport chiefs put pen to paper to seal new Metrolink deal

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), MPact Thales (MPT) and WSP have signed on the dotted line as work continues on Metrolink’s latest expansion.

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The award-winning collaboration will see MPT - a consortium of Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales design and construct the extension to the intu Trafford Centre via Trafford Park, while WSP will continue as TfGM’s delivery partner.

The scheme is the first major project to benefit from the GM Devolution Deal, signed by Greater Manchester leaders and central government, in November 2014.

The £350m funding for the scheme - which takes into account, amongst other things, design and construction of the line, land acquisition and utility work - comes from the ‘Earn Back’ deal that was a key component of the Devolution Agreement and a £20 million contribution from Trafford Council.

The contract was procured as a variation to the one that has already seen MPT deliver extensions to MediaCityUK, Ashton, East Didsbury, Oldham and Rochdale, Manchester Airport and the Second City Crossing.

Chair of the TfGM Committee, Cllr Andrew Fender, said: “It makes absolute sense to continue the award-winning partnership with MPT and WSP to deliver the next exciting chapter in the Metrolink story.

“The phase three expansion programme has without doubt been one of largest and most ambitious transport projects to be delivered in the UK and is unprecedented in the light rail industry in terms of the size and scale of growth.

“I’m pleased that all formalities are now complete - it’s an existing and successful partnership and I know we are in great hands with Metrolink’s latest exciting expansion.”

Bryan Glass, MPT Director, said: “The Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales MPT consortium has successfully delivered three main contract extensions for Manchester Metrolink. We are therefore delighted to continue as a trusted partner to TfGM delivering the latest phase of the Metrolink’s growth taking the line through Trafford Park to the Trafford Centre.”

Ian Beaumont, programme director at WSP in Manchester, commented: “We’ve built a strong relationship working with TfGM and MPT to deliver the vision of an integrated transport system across the city and we look forward to continuing this partnership. Our in-depth knowledge of the city and range of technical and programme management expertise makes us best-placed to oversee the next phase of this major infrastructure expansion to the Metrolink system, improving connectivity across Greater Manchester for the tens of millions of commuters and visitors who use the network every year.”

Trafford Park itself is the largest major employment zone in Greater Manchester outside the city centre and is home to over 1,300 businesses and more than 35,000 jobs.

The new 3.4mile (5.5km) Trafford Park line, which will increase the size of the Metrolink network to more than 64 miles (103km) served by 99 stops, will branch off from the existing Pomona stop and call at six new tram stops at key destinations, including Wharfside, near to Old Trafford football stadium, the Imperial War Museum, key business areas through Europe’s largest industrial estate and to visitor destinations such as Eventcity and the intu Trafford Centre.

Advanced utility works are now underway along the line of the route, which will run concurrently with other enabling works. Work on the new Metrolink line is due to be completed by the end of 2020.