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Lovin’ the boondoggle

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At £400 million, the 14.5-km extension of the Metrolink tramway to Manchester Airport, which opened today, “is a bargain really”, said Andrew Fender, ‘chair’ of the Transport for Greater Manchester committee ‘as he gazed lovingly out of the window of a yellow tram on a test run’. Because the second tram crossing in central Manchester is not ready, the airport service is to operate as a shuttle from the desolate Cornbrook interchange.

[“Manchester Metrolink line opens more than a year ahead of schedule”, Helen Pidd, The Guardian, 3 Nov 2014]

[…] some in Manchester are unimpressed by the new Metrolink line, balking at the fact it trundles along so slowly that it takes 45 minutes to get to the airport from Cornbrook, while an airport express train takes just 15 minutes. It will be more expensive, too: £6.20 single on the tram compared with £4.10 on the train. The naysayers are missing the point of the line, says Fender. “This isn’t so much about getting people to the airport from the city centre but about connecting communities on the way to the airport. For Wythenshawe in particular, Metrolink will provide new and easier ways for people across Greater Manchester to reach the town centre and all it has to offer – as well as making it a more attractive place to live, work and do business.”

TfGM Metrolink extensions map, 2014

What is the benefit-cost ratio of the airport tram? And if it costs £400 million to build 14.5 km of surface tramway into Manchester, what is the cost of the tunnelled HS2 route into Piccadilly? The real costs of bringing HS2 past Manchester airport are much higher than the cost of the station itself.


Written by beleben

November 3, 2014 at 11:48 am

Posted in Manchester, Politics

Tagged with ,

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