Trams returned to Manchester city centre on schedule today, after a major project to replace the entire city centre tracks.
Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) has overseen the project to replace the tracks and redevelop the St Peter’s Square and Piccadilly Gardens stops.
In partnership with Manchester City Council, all-new, high quality street finishes have also been installed throughout the city centre.
The city centre section closed in April and services returned today following thorough testing of the new tracks last week.
Major overhauls of the St Peter’s Square and Piccadilly Gardens stops – two of the most heavily used on the network – have been completed.
p>The St Peter’s Square stop has been widened and the platform heights modified to allow level boarding for all passengers.
The design was finalised in consultation with Manchester City Council, English Heritage, the Royal British Legion and Manchester and District Local Ex-Services Associations, due to its location between Central Library and the cenotaph.
The Piccadilly Gardens stop has also been widened and new canopies have been installed to provide better shelter for even more people.
New state-of-the-art ticket machines, which will be rolled out across the Metrolink network by spring next year, have also been installed on the two revamped stops.
All the city centre stops now bear Metrolink’s new identity, which will be rolled out across the remainder of the network.
The city centre section is the most heavily used part of the network, with trams passing over it up to 250 times a day. This is set to increase to 400 times a day when the new lines to Oldham and Rochdale, Droylsden, Chorlton and MediaCityUK are completed.
GMPTE worked closely with Manchester City Council to develop a range of high quality finishes for the new tram tracks that greatly enhance the overall city centre environment.
The new street finishes include Yorkstone paving, granite, and exposed aggregate concrete with granite banding.
Overall, the project involved:
- 500 tons of steel, covering 9,000 linear metres of track
- 1,400 tons of concrete
- 299,000 sets of paving stones
- 215,500 man hours
- 500 rail welds
The largest piece of equipment used was rail lifting gantries, and 6,000 tons of waste was recycled.