Tramline to East Didsbury will open months ahead of schedule as Metrolink becomes biggest network in country

By John McDougall

Manchester’s Metrolink network has been given a further boost after it was announced the tramline to East Didsbury will open next Thursday several months ahead of schedule.  

A 2.7 mile extension will see stops at Withington, Burton Road, West Didsbury, Didsbury Village and East Didsbury open to the public as the Metrolink expansion continues to gather pace.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, executive member for the environment for Manchester City Council, feels the move is crucial towards the future economic prosperity of Greater Manchester. 

“Having a well-connected city where people can easily access employment, social and leisure opportunities is absolutely fundamental to Manchester’s future success,” he said.

“This new line is another important step towards delivering that vision and it will be great to see it up and running.”

The very first tram will leave East Didsbury – which also has a 300-space park and ride facility – at 5.49am and reach the city centre in less than 30 minutes.

The South Manchester line extension is due to run to Manchester Airport and open fully by 2016 as part of a £1.4billion expansion.

It will see the Metrolink become the biggest tram network in the country after being agreed by the previous Labour government.

It is the third expansion this year, as trams to Rochdale train station started running in March while the East Manchester line to Droylsden opened in February.

Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, believes the continued expansion is the product of hard work over a long period of time.

“This new line is a great addition to our ever-growing Metrolink network and will give people a new and exciting way to experience all the vibrant things that South Manchester has to offer,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to be able to announce the opening of this new line several months earlier than we expected.

“It’s something that I, personally, have been promoting for more than 30 years, but for it to be complete so far ahead of schedule is a wonderful achievement.”

Lines to Ashton and Wythenshawe are also planned, and when complete the Metrolink network will have grown to three times its original size to more than 45 miles. 

Tickets from East Didsbury to Manchester City Centre will cost £3.40 for a peak anytime single, £5.40 for a peak anytime return and £3.80 for an off-peak return.

Picture courtesy of Firing up the Quattro, via Flickr, with thanks.

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