Andy Burnham reveals when decision could be made on expanding Metrolink to other parts of Greater Manchester

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Plans are in place to expand the tram network to both the north and south of the region.

A decision on expanding the Metrolink around Greater Manchester is expected to be made this summer, Andy Burnham has said.

The Greater Manchester Mayor said that Transport for Greater Manchester is putting together on a “watertight” business case to present to the government to secure funding for the work. Plans are in place to expand the network south to Stockport as well as north to Middleton, Heywood, Bolton, and the Atom Valley business site.

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In 2023, the Mayor promised to share a business case for bringing the tram to Stockport by the end of the year, but this was pushed back to 2024.

Andy Burnham at the opening of the new Stockport Interchange Andy Burnham at the opening of the new Stockport Interchange
Andy Burnham at the opening of the new Stockport Interchange

Mr Burnham said: “It’s hard to build the business case and get these projects over the line, but that’s what we’re working to do. The delay is due to the fact that we want it to happen, so we’re working hard to make sure the business case is approved by the government when we go to them. People should expect decisions on this by the middle of the year, that’s what we’re working to.”

An extension to the Stockport line could see the tram link to the town’s new £140 million transport interchange from the East Didsbury line. Councillors in the borough recently discussed the potential to branch the line further out around the borough, including to Marple and Hazel Grove.

Mr Burnham previously said expanding the tram network would bring huge social and economic benefits to Stockport. Stockport council has been calling for an extension to the Metrolink for years, and has carefully planned its town centre regeneration to allow space for future tram tracks to its new transport interchange.

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The interchange links up to Stockport railway station via a walking and cycling route, which has been designed to encourage more active travel in the town. The opening of the £140 million site this month is part of massive regeneration work breathing new life in to formerly derelict parts of the town.

Plans are also in place to open Greater Manchester’s first fully electric public transport system in Stockport, with the creation of an all-electric bus depot in the town.

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