Opening of the latest Metrolink extension

A Bombardier M5000 tram about to set off from East Didsbury station

The Chorlton to East Didsbury extension of the South Manchester Metrolink opened on the 23rd May. The line is 4.5km long and comprises five new stations and three new trams. It runs along the route of a disused railway line which was purchased by Greater Manchester Council in 1983 for a pound.

The cost of this extension and an additional 3.9km extension from Droylsden to Ashton is £161.2 million, with £120.89 million of the total being provided by central government.

The East Didsbury extension is the third extension to Metrolink to open this year. Trams to Rochdale train station started running in March whilst the East Manchester line to Droylsden opened in February.

The entire Metrolink network is currently being expanded from 37km to 97km at a cost of around £1.5 billion. Ridership is expected to increase from 54,000 in 2010 to more than 190,000 by 2016.

The expansion is being paid for by both central and local government. In 2011, Manchester secured a £500 million loan from the European Investment Bank to help it meet the cost of the expansion programme.

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References
Dept for Transport press release
Manchester Evening News
Global Rail News

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