Metrolink passengers will benefit from more trams running right into the heart of Manchester city centre when the new line opens, a meeting of the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee heard.
The new 2CC route will also give Metrolink greater operational flexibility and improve service reliability.
The new line will allow for the long-anticipated extension of Manchester Airport services beyond Cornbrook to Deansgate-Castlefield initially and, then, Victoria.
Rochdale and Oldham services to and from East Didsbury will run along the new line through the city, serving Victoria, Exchange Square and St Peter’s Square.
Services will also run seven days a week between Altrincham and Piccadilly, Bury and Piccadilly, East Didsbury and Rochdale Town Centre, and Eccles and Ashton-under-Lyne. Additional services will run 7am-7pm, Monday to Saturday, linking Altrincham and Bury, East Didsbury and Shaw & Crompton, and MediaCityUK and Etihad Campus.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “It’s an exciting time for Metrolink as we gear up for the Second City Crossing opening early next year.
“Under these new plans high frequency services will run to major city centre employment areas, with a targeted approach to meet passenger demand to travel along each route.
“Customers will be able to make quick and easy connections to travel anywhere on the 93-stop network with just one change of tram.
“This new line will provide much-needed operational flexibility and resilience for the largest light rail network in the UK – one that is set to expand either further with a new line to Trafford Park.
“I look forward to customers reaping the benefits in the new year.”
The benefits of the Second City Crossing began when the first phase of the line opened from Victoria through to a new stop at Exchange Square in December 2015. Fast-tracked thanks to the European Regional Development Fund, this means a six-minute daytime service runs between Shaw and Crompton, Oldham and the city centre from Monday to Saturdays.
All major construction work on 2CC will soon be finished in time for the busy festive period. A thorough testing and commissioning process will follow before the new line fully opens in early 2017.
A major marketing and information campaign is planned early next year to prepare customers for the associated service changes. TfGM will continue to monitor and tailor service patterns to ensure the network continues to meet customer demand.
For more information on Metrolink services visit www.metrolink.co.uk, call Metrolink Customer Services on 0161 205 2000 or follow @MCRMetrolink for live travel updates.