Heavy rail passenger service to Manchester Trafford Centre

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Intercity 225

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Hi,

Just wondering if this has ever been explored and if not, why? 32 million people visit The Trafford Centre annually but it's only really convenient to get there by car and as such I can imagine a rail service would be well used.

Whilst it would likely require refurbishment the infrastructure is largely in place with the only significant construction required being a station at The Trafford Centre itself. I'd suggest that this would be best located on part of the land that's used by Roadways Container Logistics - I could be wrong here but it looks like there is enough room for both.

I'm aware that The Trafford Centre is due to be connected to Metrolink but this takes a long and convoluted route and as such won't be anywhere near as fast to Manchester city centre as a heavy rail service would be. Whilst the heavy rail route I'm suggesting would require investment I'm confident that the level of patronage would make it economically viable - unless am I missing something? All thoughts appreciated.

Thanks
 
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fowler9

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Is there currently a rail link to Roadways Container Logistics? Looking at a map it appears there is a lot more in the way than just their operation.
 
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telstarbox

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Those 32 million people come from all over the North West whereas a station as you propose would only serve trains from Manchester city centre.

The TC is next to the M60 and has tons of free parking.

Not sure there are spare paths on the CLC route especially post Ordsall Chord.

The proposed Metrolink service will be slower than a heavy rail link but it also provides access to Trafford Park and Old Trafford (and potentially Port Salford if extended west in the future).
 

Ianno87

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Is there currently a rail link to Roadways Container Logistics? Looking at a map it appears there is a lot more in the way than just their operation.

The line is little more than a single track tramway for low speed goods train movements within Trafford Park to access the container base. it crosses through the middle of at least one major road junction on the level, currently requiring a marshall to walk alongside the train as it crosses several side roads. In addition the route is only accessible through Trafford Park FLT as it stands.

To bring it up to scratch, one would have to effectively re-build the line from scratch on (probably) an elevated viaduct for most of its length. One would also need a short chord to bypass Trafford Park FLT to connect directly into the CLC route, plus proper signalling (i.e. not a bloke with a flag and a plunger for the traffic lights)

Even if this were practical, there wouldn't be sufficient paths through Deansgate/Oxford Rd to provide much more than one train an hour (if you're *very* lucky).

Back when the TC first opened, the Manchester Evening News ran a story saying that "only" 40 yards of track was necessary to provide a rail service to the centre. Conveniently ignoring all of the above.

The Metrolink Line to the centre was a planning condition of the centre being built, with the (recently withdrawn) ML1 shuttle bus from Stretford being a stop-gap measure (but now superseded by the frequent X50 bus pretty much direct to Piccadilly Gardens).
 

fowler9

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The line is little more than a single track tramway for low speed goods train movements within Trafford Park to access the container base. it crosses through the middle of at least one major road junction on the level, currently requiring a marshall to walk alongside the train as it crosses several side roads. In addition the route is only accessible through Trafford Park FLT as it stands.

To bring it up to scratch, one would have to effectively re-build the line from scratch on (probably) an elevated viaduct for most of its length. One would also need a short chord to bypass Trafford Park FLT to connect directly into the CLC route, plus proper signalling (i.e. not a bloke with a flag and a plunger for the traffic lights)

Even if this were practical, there wouldn't be sufficient paths through Deansgate/Oxford Rd to provide much more than one train an hour (if you're *very* lucky).

Back when the TC first opened, the Manchester Evening News ran a story saying that "only" 40 yards of track was necessary to provide a rail service to the centre. Conveniently ignoring all of the above.

The Metrolink Line to the centre was a planning condition of the centre being built, with the (recently withdrawn) ML1 shuttle bus from Stretford being a stop-gap measure (but now superseded by the frequent X50 bus pretty much direct to Piccadilly Gardens).

So not cheap then? Ha ha. I hate the Trafford Centre anyway so it wouldn't affect my plans but there you go. :D
 

Altfish

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lt'd be an expensive option and only serve the TC.
The bridge over Moss Road is single track (Ok that is not a major issue) but the crossing of the busy Park Road would require a level crossing.
I think the tram is the correct solution.

It may be easier to put a loop in from the proposed Port Salford Branch?
 

Ianno87

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I wonder if many are aware that the Trafford Centre has its own bus station, with some express bus services and the bus services serve destinations here there and everywhere so to speak.

Nowhere near as extensive a bus network as when the centre first opened on 10th September 1998 - the demand just simply isn't there on a day to day basis to justify long routes from far-flung destinations.

Regular houly long distance service effectively cart fresh air in the wrong direction in the morning/afternoon as they can't often easily serve anywhere else along the way, whilst out and back day trip shopper buses don't offer the flexibility most people demand for a relaxed day out these days (compared to a car)

Routes that have bitten the dust over the years include:
X1 from Liverpool
X4 from St Helens via Warrington
X42/X43 from Colne/Nelson/Burnley
M60 from Bradford via Halifax
58 express from Rochdale via Oldham
300 express from Bury via Bolton (still runs to Bolton Saturdays only)
500 Bolton - TC - Altrincham - Mcr Airport (limited stop)
X60 Preston via Chorley
573 Horwich via Bolton
674(?) Standish via Aspull/Horwich

Some more locally focussed routes do seem to be thriving however.
 

61653 HTAFC

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As a few have said, a major problem with the OP's proposal is that services would only link the centre with Manchester city centre (and possibly the Airport or Rochdale, as there'd be no desire to terminate services in the centre from that direction). The obvious comparison to make is with Meadowhall which was built next to an existing busy rail route (2 or 3 routes to be exact) so connected with more destinations and didn't require extra rolling stock or paths. If the Trafford Centre had an existing rail route passing nearby, there's little doubt that a station would already have been built, and like Meadowhall would be served by most or all passing services.
 
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HowardGWR

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The problem of access to these out of town centres is that they are , er,.........

It's different in London where there is already a huge local and regional rail network with frequent services. There the two east and west centres (Shepherd's Bush and Stratford) are easier accessed by public transport than by car.

However, at the south east one at Bluewater, it looks as badly served as the ones in north Bristol, Cribbs Causeway, west Brum, Merry Hill, and west Manchester, Trafford. Environmental nightmares, the lot of them.
 

edwin_m

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As a few have said, a major problem with the OP's proposal is that services would only link the centre with Manchester city centre (and possibly the Airport or Rochdale, as there'd be no desire to terminate services in the centre from that direction). The obvious comparison to make is with Meadowhall which was built next to an existing busy rail route (2 or 3 routes to be exact) so connected with more destinations and didn't require extra rolling stock or paths. If the Trafford Centre had an existing rail route passing nearby, there's little doubt that a station would already have been built, and like Meadowhall would be served by most or all passing services.

Metrocentre in Gateshead is another interesting comparison. It is next to a less busy rail line than Meadowhall, but got its own station and the extension of the hourly Morpeth service that would probably have terminated at Newcastle otherwise. But nobody has created a new heavy rail passenger line to serve an out-of-town centre.
 

fowler9

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Metrocentre in Gateshead is another interesting comparison. It is next to a less busy rail line than Meadowhall, but got its own station and the extension of the hourly Morpeth service that would probably have terminated at Newcastle otherwise. But nobody has created a new heavy rail passenger line to serve an out-of-town centre.

The line to the Metrocentre had capacity to extend trains there. There is no additional capacity on the CLC route.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Nowhere near as extensive a bus network as when the centre first opened on 10th September 1998 - the demand just simply isn't there on a day to day basis to justify long routes from far-flung destinations.

Some more locally focussed routes do seem to be thriving however.

Your final sentence is an important one to note as there is still quite a good bus service pattern running in 2016. Buses do offer quite a good transport alternative nonetheless to many people.

Recently, I travelled from Leigh bus station to the Trafford Centre. Leigh is a large area with no train station and no Metrolink service (the Leigh Guided Busway has just commenced running to Manchester).
 

8A Rail

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Your final sentence is an important one to note as there is still quite a good bus service pattern running in 2016. Buses do offer quite a good transport alternative nonetheless to many people.

Recently, I travelled from Leigh bus station to the Trafford Centre. Leigh is a large area with no train station and no Metrolink service (the Leigh Guided Busway has just commenced running to Manchester).

The guided busway is a complete waste of money too - if people had any sense it should of been Metrolink and at least that would take you all the way in to the city centre which the busway does not! Also not exactly environmently friendly either given still using diesel buses of some sort or another! May not agree but that is the way I see it.
 

Altfish

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The guided busway is a complete waste of money too - if people had any sense it should of been Metrolink and at least that would take you all the way in to the city centre which the busway does not! Also not exactly environmently friendly either given still using diesel buses of some sort or another! May not agree but that is the way I see it.

I'm reserving my opinion on the Guided Busway for another 12-months but it is slightly ingenuous to say it doesn't go all the way to Manchester. Although the 'guided' section finishes well short the buses still continue to the city centre on normal routes or bus-only routes.
 

Philip Phlopp

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The other problem, which I don't think anybody has raised yet, is that the shopping patterns of people using out of town shopping centres aren't best suited to public transport, and public transport isn't always something out of town centres want to encourage.

There's very little wrong if you're going to Carphone Warehouse for a new phone, but if it's PC World, the Apple Store or elsewhere to buy something bulkier, or you're doing a lot of clothes shopping, it's not ideal trying to get home on public transport. The site owners would prefer shoppers not have to worry too much about getting everything home on the bus or train, they would much rather you had your car there and can fill it up, pretty much care free.
 

HowardGWR

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The other problem, which I don't think anybody has raised yet, is that the shopping patterns of people using out of town shopping centres aren't best suited to public transport, and public transport isn't always something out of town centres want to encourage.

There's very little wrong if you're going to Carphone Warehouse for a new phone, but if it's PC World, the Apple Store or elsewhere to buy something bulkier, or you're doing a lot of clothes shopping, it's not ideal trying to get home on public transport. The site owners would prefer shoppers not have to worry too much about getting everything home on the bus or train, they would much rather you had your car there and can fill it up, pretty much care free.

Yes that's true, but thoughtful authorities have put the carry-away shops together where parking is possible, along with large supermarkets. This is achieved by planning conditions, and avoids trying to extract clothing comparison shoppers from town and city centres. Taunton is a good example of that.

Having written that, I recall that the last stuff I bought in PC World had to be delivered later to me, anyway, as normally do carpets, furniture and so on. Loads of do-it-yourself items, we now order on the internet, although admittedly, we live rurally.
 

notlob.divad

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Surely the sensible thing to do with the Trafford Centre (Apart from the proposed Metrolink), would be to put on a dedicated shuttle service between Eccles and Urmston station that went via the Trafford Centre and the whole Trafford commercial area including Chil Factor and Event City. That way people could get to it from the Retail and Leisure facilities from the CLC or the Chat Moss Route.

Saying that having been once to the T/Centre in my life I don't know why anyone would ever choose to go there of their own free will. If you have got on the train to go shopping I would much rather go to either Liverpool or Manchester City center than to the Trafford Centre.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Surely the sensible thing to do with the Trafford Centre (Apart from the proposed Metrolink), would be to put on a dedicated shuttle service between Eccles and Urmston station that went via the Trafford Centre.

Would that be similar to the dedicated Arriva-run ML1 shuttle that once ran from Stretford Metrolink station to the Trafford Centre, but was then discontinued?
 

notlob.divad

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Would that be similar to the dedicated Arriva-run ML1 shuttle that once ran from Stretford Metrolink station to the Trafford Centre, but was then discontinued?

If one did then I would guess so, but the issue with a shuttle bus from Stretford is it would be it only catered for people coming from the centre of Manchester or Altringham direction. If people have to travel into Manchester and then back out again, it rather defeats the point as they may as well shop in Manchester city centre, or if they are set on the Trafford Centre, drive. In contrast, Eccles and Urmston in contrast would allow people from North Wales, Chester / Warrington / Widnes / St Helens and Liverpool all to get to the Trafford Centre by Public Transport without going into the middle of Manchester first.

However I agree with the point above, it is a very tough market for public transport to crack. The whole ideal of an out of town shopping centre is that in theory they have better access by car which is what people desire. (Even if attitudes are starting to shift.) People who want access to the shops by public transport will tend to head for the Town/City centres which already have good connectivity.
 

petersi

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However I agree with the point above, it is a very tough market for public transport to crack. The whole ideal of an out of town shopping centre is that in theory they have better access by car which is what people desire. (Even if attitudes are starting to shift.) People who want access to the shops by public transport will tend to head for the Town/City centres which already have good connectivity.

This station servers a shopping centre and seams to do ok for a station with a single platform

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chafford_Hundred_Lakeside_railway_station
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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The guided busway is a complete waste of money too - if people had any sense it should of been Metrolink and at least that would take you all the way in to the city centre which the busway does not!.

I must have been seeing mirages if that be the case as I have stood in the bus shelter at Stevenson Square in Manchester City Centre and seen both the V1 service to Leigh and the V2 service to Atherton there....:D
 

kieron

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The line to the Metrocentre had capacity to extend trains there. There is no additional capacity on the CLC route.
That sounds unlikely to me. The westbound TPE and EMT trains are typically scheduled to leave Oxford Road 25 minutes after the train in front of them, and the eastbound ones to arrive around the same time before the next Northern service.

This appears to leave plenty of opportunity for a train which doesn't go all the way to Liverpool. The fact that none of the stations between Oxford Road and Hunts Cross have more than two platforms makes taking advantage of this a bit awkward at present.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Looking at the exceedingly large number of people who travel to the Trafford Centre at present, what percentage of these would be expected to use a train service, which usually means travelling from their homes to the nearest railway station that offers a direct connection from there to the Trafford Centre, rather than travelling directly there by car from their homes?

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase..."Living above your station"...:D
 

Haydn1971

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The success of Meadowhall as a station has in part been due to its links to the small places to the north along the Swinton and Barnsley lines, there is a noticeable number of people interchanging in the evening too. In order for heavy rail to be successful at the Trafford Centre, there needs to be a similar onward links via rail, tram and bus - all of which seem unlikely here.
 

Altfish

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Isn't it the case that Meadowhall and the Gateshead Metro Centre were built near existing rail lines. The addition of a station was relatively cheap and easily accomplished.
The Trafford Centre is not on a rail line and the freight line is not really suitable. Therefore any heavy rail provision would be expensive
 

61653 HTAFC

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The success of Meadowhall as a station has in part been due to its links to the small places to the north along the Swinton and Barnsley lines, there is a noticeable number of people interchanging in the evening too. In order for heavy rail to be successful at the Trafford Centre, there needs to be a similar onward links via rail, tram and bus - all of which seem unlikely here.

This is true. I've commented before that ideally the Huddersfield to Sheffield line could do with a faster and more frequent service (either by extra loops or the Horbury curve) and if the Woodhead hadn't closed this would exist via Deepcar, albeit to Victoria. Via Deepcar however wouldn't serve Meadowhall, and often in the off-peak the majority of passengers alight at Meadowhall rather than staying on to Midland.
 
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