Metrolink drivers in the pilot’s seat as training starts on new Airport line

16 September 2014  •  Author(s): Transport for Greater Manchester

Metrolink’s new line to Wythenshawe and Manchester Airport is getting ready for take-off over a year early, as tram drivers take their first training sessions on the route.

While trams will become a familiar sight on the new 15-stop line, passengers are being reminded that they won’t be able to catch them just yet.

The 14.5km line is due to open later this year – more than 12 months ahead of schedule – but before that happens the comprehensive driver training programme will be followed by a period where out of service trams test the new timetable.

Metrolink test tram

The start of driver training comes as Transport for Greater Manchester places an order for sixteen new trams

The start of driver training comes as Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) places an order for sixteen new trams to provide extra space and capacity for passengers across the network.

Driver route training is an important stage in preparing the new line for passenger service as it familiarises drivers with the new route and its junctions, signals and stops.

During the training period, people can use roads and pedestrian crossings as normal.

Peter Cushing, Transport for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink Director, said: “There’s a great deal of excitement about this new Metrolink line already and I’m sure this will only increase as driver training trams become a familiar sight along the route.

“We’re looking forward to being able to confirm a start date and welcoming customers on to the service later this year. But before we can, the crucial testing and driver training period allows us to iron out any issues as we put the 14.5km route through its paces.”

The new Airport line will run through Wythenshawe town centre, where trams will link up with buses at a new state of the art interchange due to open next year.

Services will initially run every 12 minutes between Manchester Airport and Cornbrook, where passengers can change for connecting services into the city centre and beyond.

Services will start to run through the city centre once the new Second City Crossing is complete in 2017.

The Airport line will bring the size of the Metrolink network to 92.5km (57.5 miles), serving 92 stops.

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