TRANSPORT chiefs have poured cold water on talk of a return to the drawing board for a tram-train to Manchester.
A proposal to expand the city’s Metrolink service out from Altrincham to Knutsford using rail tracks was first proposed five years ago.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) rejected the idea in November 2013, suggesting the capital and operating costs for such a service were ‘too high for a worthwhile business case to be made’.
But following a presentation at this month’s Knutsford Town Council meeting, Wendy Sinfield, community relations manager at Manchester Airport, hinted that the proposal could be back on the table.
Cllr Andrew Malloy, Knutsford Town Council member for Over, told the Guardian: “I asked what the plans were for better rail links between Manchester Airport and Knutsford.
“She said her understanding was that tram-trains were being considered again.
“Cllr Tony Dean [Knutsford Town Council member for Bexton] responded to say it had been considered before but thrown out, but Wendy seemed to be thinking tram-trains could be back on the cards.”
Following the meeting, a spokesman at Manchester Airport confirmed to the Guardian that tram-trains were something that Wendy had heard was being considered.
Metrolink bosses have moved to derail the rumour though.
Martin Lax is head of rapid transit development at Transport for Greater Manchester, which oversees the Metrolink tram service.
“Improving connectivity is central to our long-term strategy and on an ongoing basis we work closely with Greater Manchester communities and neighbouring partners to put in place the right local improvements to support development and make travel easier,” he told the Guardian.
“Work has previously been undertaken to explore the options for connecting Knutsford with Manchester via a tram-train, however it was decided not to progress with these proposals.
“When assessing any future transport scheme, we explore the benefits alongside the costs, prioritising the most beneficial schemes for passengers.”
Martin added that Knutsford will soon benefit from the new Arriva Rail North franchise, which will see the number of services between Manchester and Chester on the Knutsford line double Monday to Saturday, and a full hourly service be introduced on Sundays.
The new services are expected to be added in May 2018.