Some sections of track on the Eccles line are now showing significant wear, particularly on sections of curved rail situated within the highway.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has worked with Metrolink’s operator and maintainer, MRDL, to time the essential upgrades to coincide with final works at St Peter’s Square stop, when fewer people will be travelling due to the summer holiday period.
In order to complete the work as efficiently as possible, the Eccles line will close from Sunday 26 June, on the same date services will stop running through St Peter’s Square.
Eccles line services are expected to resume between Deansgate-Castlefield and MediaCityUK in early August, with the full line reopening at the end of August. Train services from Eccles and Patricroft rail stations to/from the city will operate as normal.
This summer will also see the final phase of work to build a new, much larger St Peter’s Square stop, set to open at the end of August.
Peter Cushing, TfGM Metrolink Director, said: “Unfortunately several sections of rail on the Eccles line are showing signs of significant wear.
“By replacing longer sections of track on the Eccles line now, the work will ensure a longer overall lifespan for the tram line in these areas and minimise the potential for future roadworks affecting all road users.
“To limit the impact on customers we’ve worked with Metrolink’s operator and maintainer, MRDL, to get this essential work done at the same time as St Peter’s Square works, with fewer passengers affected due to the quieter summer holiday period.
“A full bus replacement service will be in operation and we are speaking to residents and businesses right along the route to keep them fully informed of the work that is being done.
“While there will inevitably be some disruption, by coordinating and delivering both projects simultaneously we hope to minimise the overall impact this will have.”
As the final works to complete the St Peter’s Square stop will take place close to the track, Metrolink services through the square will be suspended from Sunday 26 June to the end of August, meaning no north/south cross-city tram services will operate.
Throughout the work, replacement bus services and signed walking routes will ensure customers have good access across and into Manchester city centre, with bus replacement services calling at key destinations along the Eccles line.
Peter added: “This is an exciting time for Metrolink with some historic changes on the way for St Peter’s Square. We’re just months away from opening up a new, much bigger stop that will be a game-changer for city centre services when the new Second City Crossing opens early next year.
“We can’t complete the stop without full access to the work site and, as we set out last year, that means no tram services through the square approximately nine weeks.
“Last summer we made similar changes to services so we’re confident we’ll provide the right mix of replacement bus services and information to support our customers through this time.
“Thanks once again to all our passengers for bearing with us as we work to improve the service we provide. I’m sure they’ll be impressed with the results at St Peter’s Square.”
The transformation of St Peter’s Square is part of a city centre stop improvement programme that has seen a new stop built at Exchange Square, multi-million pound revamps of Deansgate-Castlefield and Victoria stops, and improvements at Market Street stop.
The stop will have two new island style platforms and two sets of track in each direction, allowing more services to run through it on the existing lines and the new Second City Crossing.
The Second City Crossing and stop improvements programme is part of GROW, which will see more than £1 billion invested in city centre infrastructure improvements by 2017. Find out more at www.manchester.gov.uk/grow.