Would a Deansgate Metrolink route be better than Cross Street? A new pressure group thinks so

The second city crossing for Metrolink, required as the network expands, is currently set to run from St. Peter’s Square via Princess Street, Cross Street and Corporation Street. However, a pressure group has been set up to argue that Deansgate would be a better option.

The Trams4Deansgate group argues that a route coming down off Castlefield Viaduct onto Deansgate would provide more benefits, connecting more of the city centre to the network. 

As Trams4Deansgate member Ian Christie tells us:

“We’ve sent to Philip Purdy and all TfGM Councillors (and many others), a letter asking for a detailed and transparent technical and cost-benefit analysis of the Cross Street route and two ‘short’ Deansgate routes to be carried out before a decision is reached on the second city crossing. We’ve also sent a technical analysis of second city crossing routes prepared by John Gradwell, an engineer, which provides new expert information not previously available.

Before opting for the Cross Street route, GMPTE assessed, costed and compared that route with a ‘long’ Deansgate route coming along Chester Road from Cornbrook. As you probably know, they never fully investigated or costed shorter Deansgate routes coming down to Deansgate from Castlefield Viaduct.

Without such a detailed comparison, TfGM cannot claim to have considered a realistic alternative to the Cross Street route or to be providing best value for money. We’re asking them to carry a detailed investigation of these shorter routes.”

While the group has a point regarding a Deansgate route opening up more of the city centre to trams, on a personal level, Deansgate has never struck me as a logical choice. It’s already frequently congested with traffic. Adding the additional burden of trams would make things worse and hold up the trams too. Can you imagine waiting half an hour for a tram because it got stuck in peak time traffic? Cross Street is largely restricted to buses and vehicles that require access for most of the week, as such that route would cause far less disruption to the network.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know.

[Image credit: Stephen Douglas]

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About Martin Bryant

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8 Responses to Would a Deansgate Metrolink route be better than Cross Street? A new pressure group thinks so

  1. Rob says:

    It’s a nice idea, but Deansgate is too busy for a reliable service to be maintained. There’s too much traffic and too many junctions. It would become a slow and unreliable line.

  2. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    The existing route proposed that starts at St Peters Square with the proposed new station at Exchange Square serves a more Central Manchester area than Deansgate ever could.

    • John G says:

      St Peter’s Square is already on the tram system – that’s not a new stop.

      Exchange Square is within spitting distance of existing stops at Victoria and Shudehill. Pointless in my opinion.

      • Paul Sidorczuk says:

        Did you not attend any of the exhibitions on the proposed Second City crossing? The plans are that St Peters Square will be twice the size that it is at present with four platform faces.

        Exchange Square serves the area within the city centre that many passengers will find useful and TfGM have recognised this fact and is a station on a new line that will give Metrolink useage to for passengers who will not be on connection lines that Shudehill station serves for example.

        Does anyone know what services are planned to go via Exchange Square station at this present time?

  3. John G says:

    I think Manchester has got to get real when it comes to the private car and public transport. We’re talking about the future; perhaps the next 50 – 100 years – when cars become unsustainable. We’ve got to ask ourselves why we’re building a bigger better tram network, is it to provide a green and clean alternative to the car or is it just a second-best transport system for those who can’t afford one??

    Deansgate has only belonged to the car for the last 50 years. For 100 years before that it belonged to the tram, the horse and the pedestrian.

    People in London don’t jump in their cars and expect to drive down Euston Road. When will motorists in Manchester change their expectations? Perhaps when they have a proper tram network which can deliver them anywhere in the city centre – and that means Deansgate.

  4. Shaun says:

    Without sounding like I’m repeating what has already been said, I think that the current proposal of running through St Peter’s Square, Princess Street and Corporation Street is probably the better option than running it down Deansgate, even though there would be a bigger catchment from a Deansgate line with Deansgate itself plus Spinningfields, Salford Central, MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) and Granada TV (before they move everything to MediaCity). Plus having the two city centre lines split around the bottom of Deansgate rather than at St Peter’s Square would create a bigger interchange with the trains at Deansgate station.

    Deansgate is a busy road (and that’s not even during rush hour), so you couldn’t have trams running along with traffic like you do on parts of the Eccles line and what you’ll get on the East Manchester line. And there isn’t any room to expand outwards to have trams and road traffic side-by-side, so that option is out. Plus it would be more difficult to get the trams into Victoria station from Deansgate. On their Facebook page, it looks like they’re suggesting to send the trams past Manchester Cathedral and around Urbis to get in.

    I do think that one main argument from the group is that they felt that the Deansgate option was dismissed unfairly, as the original option say that the gradient between the Metrolink line and Deansgate was too steep to send Metrolink trams up and down and that the plan to have trams running up Chester Road past Castlefield would be too slow, which is why they’ve been suggesting places where the Metrolink can drop down to street level. But I suppose the problem that Metrolink are trying to overcome is trying to find an alternative way across the city rather than finding a new city centre line that can serve as many places as it can. As for trying to serve different areas, isn’t that what the Metroshuttle buses are for? Plus with the Ordsall Chord to come later in the decade, would that allow the possibility of having trains serving Deansgate and Salford Central stations?

    As for which services may use the 2CC, it would probably be either Rochdale-East Didsbury or Bury-Altrincham. May be possible that they alternative between the two, so it would be every other tram from both lines.

    Did read one suggestion on the SkyScraperCity forum about Metrolink serving Deansgate, which said as a future idea, have a line running from Salford Central station, cross-over Deansgate, past the Town Hall and head towards the universities and then onto Withington and East Didsbury. And then having the trams going to Salford Central would open up the possibility of introducing an extension towards Bolton or Wigan (and it was one of the cross-city bus routes suggested a few years ago with the TiF bid).

    Meanwhile, TfGM have put up an article today on their website informing people that there isn’t much time left in the 2CC line consulation, with the deadline being on 9 September.

  5. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    Thanks for that, Shaun. I had intended to make another posting to John G, in response to his second posting, but I have been at conferences at Shrewsbury and Clitheroe and not had time to come back on the thread until this morning, but your fully detailed reply above sums up the matter to perfection.

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