Plans are afoot for an upgrade of Salford Crescent railway station as well as a new bus service linking the station with MediaCityUK.
The current station layout at Salford Crescent is pretty cramped – the ticket office and waiting room are located on the island platform, resulting in some very narrow sections. Add in the large number of University of Salford students who use rail services and you have a recipe for overcrowding. Network Rail plan to sweep away all buildings except for the train dispatch office at the northern end. A new station building will be constructed at street level on the A6 flyover, with access direct onto The Crescent, and will feature a ticket office. A new footbridge will link the station building with steps and a lift leading onto platform level, with the existing footbridge reverting to a pedestrian footbridge only.
The platforms will be lengthened to accept six-car trains, and Network Rail plan to have completed the work by 2014. As far as projects go, it seems to have been descoped a fair bit from original talk of relocating the station and building additional platforms. Should the railway to Wigan Wallgate via Atherton ever be converted to tram-train (or just plain old tram) – lower maintenance costs, reduced subsidy, higher frequencies and the need to replace ageing diesel units being the main drivers – then the proposed layout should prove sufficient for future growth of the remaining heavy rail services.
Meanwhile, new bus stops are planned on the adjoining University Road that will cater for the proposed bus service from Salford Crescent to MediaCityUK. Although the original DfT “Kickstart” funding was scrapped by the incoming Government, GMPTE has won additional Green Bus Fund money instead – £330k plus some additional borrowing – that will fund the acquisition of four hybrid diesel-electric buses to operate the new service. These will be based on the Metroshuttle specification and will be capable of carrying 57 passengers – presumably the longer Optare Versa design which seat 27 with room for 28 standees.
|Weekdays||Saturdays||Sundays and Bank Holidays|
|Salford Crescent to MediaCityUK||10 mins (0700-2000)
15 mins (2000-2300)
|15 mins (0800-2000)||15 mins (1000-1800)|
Unlike the existing Metroshuttle services in Manchester, Bolton and Stockport, this service will not be free. The proposed fares are £1 single, £1.60 for a day ticket and £6 for a weekly ticket. Eligible students at the University of Salford will be able to travel for free between the main campus on The Crescent and the new facility at MediaCityUK, which opens in October this year. The university will contribute a fixed sum towards the operating costs for this privilege, with 25% of the total cost met by GMPTE and the remainder funded by Salford City Council.
A tender for operating the service was issued in November last year, with a planned launch in May this year. The initial contract is for 12 months extendable to 8 years, with funding reviews every 12 months and a 12 month notice period in the event of the contract being terminated.