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A game-changing metrolink expansion in Greater Manchester

Transport for Greater Manchester is taking significant steps to establish a rail link between Heywood, Rochdale, and Oldham, utilising tram-train technology.

Bury’s ambitious transportation plans are poised to undergo development, with £68 million already secured for the project.

Council leaders are set to greenlight the strategy at an upcoming meeting.

Metrolink Services Expansion

One notable proposal within the plan is to introduce advanced technology enabling Metrolink services to operate on the existing rail network connecting Bury and Rochdale via Heywood.

The initiative envisions restoring the former Calder Valley line.

Government Funding Setback

While the scheme had initially secured government funding through the Restoring Your Railway Fund, this allocation was withdrawn in January due to mounting costs.

Despite this setback, Transport for Greater Manchester is actively working on plans for a rail link between Heywood, Rochdale, and Oldham, using tram-train technology as an alternative solution.

Next-Generation Metrolink Vehicle

The focus of the project is the creation of a next-generation Metrolink vehicle and tram-train infrastructure.

The ultimate goal is to implement new technology allowing Metrolink vehicles to operate not only on existing heavy rail lines but also on the Metrolink network itself.

Enhanced Connectivity in Bury

Bury’s vision for improved connectivity includes the introduction of a new Metrolink stop at Elton Reservoir, a component of the Places For Everyone masterplan.

This master plan also encompasses the potential construction of more than 2,000 homes near the existing reservoir.

Bury’s £84 Million Interchange and More

Another key element of Bury’s transport strategy is the delivery of an £84 million Interchange in Bury town centre.

Additionally, the strategy outlines improvements in cycling and walking infrastructure in Bury, Radcliffe, and Ramsbottom town centres.

Measures to alleviate road congestion and delays will include new road construction, junction improvements, better management of roadworks, and traffic signal enhancements, all strategically placed to support new developments.

The Perspective of Bury’s Council Leader

Coun Eamonn O’Brien, leader of Bury Council, emphasised the significance of this new strategy in the context of Greater Manchester’s evolving transportation landscape.

The move comes at an interesting time, with local control over bus services returning after nearly four decades with the Bee Network.

A Commitment to Sustainable Transport

Coun O’Brien stressed the need for a state-of-the-art transport system that is affordable, safe, reliable and well-maintained.

The strategy aligns with broader goals, aiming to unlock new development sites, promote active travel for health and well-being, and work towards fossil-fuel-free travel by 2038.

Incorporating Public Input

The strategy takes into account the opinions of over 200 individuals who participated in a recent consultation. It seeks to strike a balance between accommodating motorists and prioritising pedestrians and cyclists.

A Gradual Shift Towards Sustainable Transport

Coun O’Brien acknowledged that change would not happen overnight but emphasised the necessity of a long-term commitment to sustainable transport to attract the required investment.

Greater Manchester’s ambitious plans for a tram-train link between Heywood, Rochdale, and Oldham, along with Bury’s comprehensive transportation strategy, signal a significant step towards a modern and interconnected transport network benefiting the entire region.

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