Metrolink Airport line celebrates its first birthday

Posted on in News Archive

UK: Metrolink’s Manchester Airport line celebrated its first birthday on 3rd of November with 1.88 million passenger journeys.

The £400m, 15-stop line - one of the largest locally-funded transport projects of its kind in the country - opened more than a year ahead of schedule on 3 November 2014.

Requiring close to 3.5million hours of work to deliver, the line has brought with it economic growth and opportunity for the region.

Metrolink Airport line website

According to Wythenshawe Town Centre Manager, Jeff Jackson, the area has flourished since the line opened, with thousands more people visiting every week.

“Since the line opened we’ve seen footfall increase by between eight and 10 thousand people a week and this has attracted new businesses to the centre.

“With Metrolink and the new interchange people have got accessibility to the Airport and wider Manchester area, offering them increased job and leisure opportunities,” Jackson said.

Almost 60km of rail track was used to construct the line, which uses 670 overhead poles to power the trams. Twenty-eight tramway/highway junctions were either newly installed or modernised; a 337 metre-long viaduct was constructed over the River Mersey and two 580 tonne motorway bridges were installed over some of the busiest sections of urban motorway in the country.

Local residents have also benefited by the so-called ‘Metrolink effect’, which has seen house prices near to the line increase well above the national average.

Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink Director, said: “The Airport line has been hugely successful, delivering improved public transport and access to employment, business, retail and leisure opportunities, as well as education and healthcare.

“Part of its charm and success stems from the recruitment drive that ensured jobs went to local residents: people with knowledge and passion for their communities as well as the Metrolink network that serves them.

“Our success is ultimately down to our customers and staff.”

Customer Ambassadors1 website

An innovative scheme to recruit staff local to the area by Metrolink’s operator, RATP Dev, was also a success, with 12 employees going on to work as part of the wider customer service team at Metrolink.

Chris Coleman, Managing Director, Metrolink RATP Dev, which operates the network on behalf of TfGM, said: “We were very clear from the start that we wanted to recruit local people from the Wythenshawe area for the new customer service roles on the Airport line.

"We worked with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group as part of their Talent Pool programme which saw interest from 250 local residents for the positions.

“We achieved unprecedented success with the recruitment programme which has not only meant employment for Wythenshawe residents, but has also allowed us to use the local knowledge of our new employees to provide even better customer service to our passengers.

“As a result of the success of the project, our new recruits have now gone on to form part of the bigger customer service team here at the company, including a new customer ambassador project which will see them provide customer service at key city centre stops.”

The Manchester Airport via Wythenshawe line was delivered by the MPT consortium, formed of Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales.

Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network carries over 32 million passengers every year. The opening of the Airport line brought the number of Metrolink stops across Greater Manchester to 92, spanning some 60km.