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What is the Second City Crossing?

The Second City Crossing is a brand new Metrolink line which will run through the St Peter’s Square and Exchange Square tram stops to Victoria Station. The new line will allow more trams to run through the city centre and across the tram network. We’ve already opened the first phase of the line through to a new stop at Exchange Square, convenient for work, shopping and leisure. The full line will open on Sunday 26 February.

What is the Second City Crossing route?

The new line starts at Lower Mosley Street and trams will continue through St Peter’s Square, before turning down Princess Street. Services will then head along Cross Street and Corporation Street, calling at the new Exchange Square stop before continuing to the Victoria stop.

When will the Second City Crossing open?

The full line will open on Sunday 26 February. Thanks to a European Regional Development Fund grant, in December 2015 we opened the first section of line to a brand new stop at Exchange Square. As well as providing new links to major shops, restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues in the area, the new Exchange Square stop has already allowed Metrolink to run more frequent tram services between Shaw and Crompton, Oldham and the city centre.

How will my service be affected by the change?

The changes to services will be as follows;

Core service 7 days a week, all day;

Altrincham to Etihad Campus Extends to Etihad Campus rather than Piccadilly
Bury to Piccadilly No longer runs to Etihad Campus
Eccles to Ashton-under-Lyne Remains the same (operates via MediaCityUK outside of the below peak daytime service hours)
East Didsbury to Rochdale Town Centre Extends beyond Shaw and Crompton to run through to Rochdale, via Exchange Square on the new Second City Crossing route
Manchester Airport to Deansgate-Castelfield (Victoria station) Extends from Cornbrook to DCF then at a later date will extend further to Victoria via Market Street

Peak daytime services Monday - Saturday

Altrincham to Bury Remains the same via market Street
East Didsbury to Shaw and Crompton This will operate via Exchange Square on the new Second City Crossing
MediaCityUK to Piccadilly Remains the same
Manchester Airport to Deansgate-Castlefield Early morning service extends from Firswood to Deansgate-Castlefield in the city zone

Will we have double trams?

Double trams will continue to operate on the Altrincham, Bury and East Didsbury services.  We will continue to monitor and tailor services to ensure the network continues to meet customer demand.  If our regions premier league teams are playing at home, there may be some changes to double or single tram units.  Any change will be communicated in advance.

Will the first and last tram times change?

There will be some timetable changes when new service patterns are introduced after the Second City Crossing opens, but these will not bring significant changes. Services will continue to operate within the standard hours/days/frequencies.

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How were the new service patterns chosen?

Many factors were taken into consideration when planning the optimum service pattern, to balance operational performance with customer demand. In planning these service patterns we've made sure we continue to run high frequency services to major city centre employment areas, and continue to target passenger demand along each route.

Quick and easy connections are also maintained: passengers will be able to travel anywhere on the 93-stop network with just one change of tram.

A full report on the proposals can be found online at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority website here.

We constantly monitor the network and are, and will continue to be, responsive to changes in travel demands.

These service patterns have been challenged. What about direct links between Rochdale, Oldham and Piccadilly?

When considering service patterns we seek to ensure best connectivity, efficiency and value for money, because Metrolink fares go straight back into running, maintaining and improving the network. 

We constantly monitor the network and are, and will continue to be, responsive to changes in travel demands.

TfGM has recently committed to carrying out further, work including a line survey and a network-wide modelling exercise, to determine the full impact of introducing a direct service between Rochdale, Oldham and Manchester Piccadilly and, conversely, of removing an already established connection, which we would have to do in order to accommodate this.

When will the Manchester Airport line service run through to Victoria?

The Manchester Airport line service will run through to Victoria upon completion of tram management system works there. TfGM is working closely with the contractor with a view to having the work completed as soon as possible.

Will the service patterns change again in the future?

These service patterns have been planned with the future expansion to the Trafford Centre in mind. Once 2CC opens we will continue to monitor and tailor service patterns to ensure the future tram network takes into account current and predicted patronage growth and wherever necessary, changed to improve the customer experience.

TfGM are committed to monitoring and reviewing services to help ensure the service patterns optimise the network for passengers and revenue against operating costs and risks. We will continue to monitor patronage and report back to TfGMC after six months of operating services through 2CC.

Why do some tram services change for events?

TfGM and the Metrolink operator are able to make short term changes to services to enable thousands of customers to attend events including football matches, Parklife, other concerts and the Manchester Marathon. Changes help minimise disruption for all commuters and visitors.

Why do both East Didsbury line services have to run on the Second City Crossing; can’t one run on the original line to give links to another area of the city centre?

Both East Didsbury line services need to run on the same line through the city centre to maintain service frequencies, as one line is longer than the other. Splitting them would create an imbalance in journey times and, in turn, headways and service patterns along the line. However, with more trams running through the city centre it will be quicker and easier than ever before to change on to another tram to get to your destination. 

How can I find out more?

To find out more about the work please:

Follow us on Twitter @MCRMetrolink or visit

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