Metrolink's £102million upgrade gets final Government seal of approval

Plans to upgrade Manchester's tram for the 21st century were given the final seal of approval by Transport Minister Tom Harris today as he signed off the last part of a £102million improvements package.

Tom Harris confirmed that a further £25.7million will invested in the project, which completes the £58m central Government contribution. The money will pay for renovation works along the existing Metrolink system, including the upgrading of bridges, cabling and overhead lines as well as junction improvements on the Eccles line.

The first round of refurbishment works were approved in July 2006 with a Government contribution of £32.3million.

Transport Minister Tom Harris said:

"This funding marks the last piece of a historic funding package for Manchester Metrolink, which will bring the service up to modern standards. The tram is clearly important to Manchester's travelling public and I am glad that it's long term future is now secured."

"I congratulate GMPTE on delivering renewal work so far on time and within budgets, despite poor weather conditions. As a result, disruption to passengers has been kept to a minimum. I am confident this excellent work will continue, so that Manchester's travelling public can look forward to tram services fit for the 21st century as soon as possible."

Tom Harris today also announced plans to move forward with improvements to Blackpool's iconic tram system, including refurbishment of the track and tram stops out to Fleetwood, as well as 16 new fully accessible trams.