16 August 2018   |  Last Updated 03-11-2014 12:11

      Monday 03, November 2014

      Quays News makes history as Metrolink launches airport service

      QUAYS News became the first to use Manchester Airport's newly-installed ticket machines as Metrolink launched its latest tram line over a year ahead of schedule on Monday.

      The special double-tram service promptly left Cornbrook at 5am, arriving at the airport at approximately 5:45am before departing a few minutes later.


      After barriers blocking the entrance to the platform were removed, airport cabin crew distributed goody bags containing an updated route map and information booklet.

      The £400 million airport line, spanning nine miles and covering 19 stops on a 40-minute journey, was originally scheduled to open in 2016 but was completed quicker than anticipated.

      It connects Cornbrook interchange to all other lines and will continue on to Victoria, which is due to re-open in February after extensive redevelopment, in 2017.

      Metrolink also links Wythenshawe to the network for the first time, with the stop situated in the town centre following an expansion of its transport interchange.

      It is part of a £1.5 billion project first planned in May 2009, which includes the second city crossing and proposal for the Trafford Park line.

      The new line brings the size of the entire Metrolink network to 57.5 miles, serving a total of 92 stops, and is much bigger than any comparable system in the UK.

      Costing £6.20 to passengers during peak times, trams will run every 12 minutes between the hours of 05:00 and 23:00 to the airport, which is the UK's biggest outside of London.

      Test vehicles have been running along the route since 20 October and 10 new trams have been purchased to accommodate the extra capacity of the system.

      Metrolink allowed residents along the line to trial the service for free on Saturday ahead of the grand unveiling, which was awash with press photographers and an influx of excited passengers.

      Our reporter Daniel Wright was the first to print a ticket from the airport's concourse machine, costing £4.10 on an early-morning ride to the city centre, once the machines were made available for use at around 5:20am.

      Patrick Garner, who travelled on the first public tram from the airport, said: "It's astonishing to think this network was meant to open in 2016 but here we are thanks to the stellar efforts of Metrolink. It looks magnificent. The line will be highly beneficial to residents of Wythenshawe, such as myself."

      But another passenger, Louise Wilson, said: "The disruption caused by the construction of this line in front of my house was frustrating enough to begin with but now the daily operation of this is further infuriating. I completely disagree with it, especially as the train to the airport is cheaper and faster."

      The driver of the first airport tram posed for photos with fashionable attire while passengers who boarded along the journey were given a round of applause as they alighted the tram.

      When travelling from the airport, the service calls at Shadowmoss, Peel Hall, Robinswood Road, Wythenshawe Town Centre, Crossacres, Benchill, Martinscroft, Roundthorn, Baguley, Moor Road, Wythenshawe Park, Northern Moor, Sale Water Park, Barlow Moor Road, St Werburgh's Road, Firswood, Chorlton, Trafford Bar and terminates at Cornbrook. 

      Since the beginning of 2012, the transport provider have opened new lines to Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham and Rochdale and East Didsbury.

      Metrolink have also proposed to introduce a service that will reach the Trafford Centre and the Imperial War Museum North, branching off at Pomona, as early as 2019.

      Around 30 million passengers use the Metrolink network every year.


      By Adam Higgins and Daniel Wright

      @Higgins_Adam95 and @SirDamnWright


      Published by Adam Higgins on 03-11-2014 12:11