New extension for UK’s largest tram network
Manchester Metrolink, a tram network in Greater Manchester, has received the 5.5-kilometre extension. The new route known as the Trafford Park Line connects the Pomona stop in the town of Eccles to the Intu Trafford Centre. It was open according to the schedule and despite concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
The Trafford Park Line was launched on Sunday, 22 March. It has a length of 5.5 kilometres and consists of six stops. The project costs 350 million pounds (around 381 million euros). Before its opening, the network of Manchester Metrolink had been the largest tram system in the United Kingdom. Now, it has become larger: it includes 99 stops and has a length of 101.5 kilometres. In the future, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) plans to extend the new line to Port Salford, a freight terminal on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal.
To train the drivers for operations on the new route, there were special classroom sessions using the Tram-Pro simulator software. Each driver was required to undertake a full day of simulator training before they are given the chance to put their learning into action by test-driving trams up and down the new line. According to TfGM, simulation training enables the drivers to familiarise themselves with the new line and sharpen their awareness of infrastructure such as signalling, stops and points while in a secure environment.