Manchester Metrolink - City Centre Track Renewals

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GHD worked as part of the Metrolink team on strategic planning of tram track renewal. After 15 years of operation, much of Metrolink’s city center track was nearing the end of its economic life and was programmed for replacement. The main objectives were to ensure the long term operation of City Centre tram services with minimal risk of derailment and with improved ability to maintain worn rail.

Working as an integrated part of the Metrolink team, GHD was responsible for the overall strategic planning of the renewals, including specification of the design requirements and of the fabrication and installation contract.

The design requirements GHD specified included:

  • addressing the issues raised in the Office of Rail Regulation's (ORR) recently circulated Guide to the Design of UK Tram Track
  • minimising alterations to the overhead line
  • minimising disruption to or replacement of 'first stage' track slab
  • compliance with Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations for stepping distance at tram stops
  • ensuring effective drainage of the trackform

GHD took into account:

  • tie-ins with the existing alignment
  • clearances throughout and at the limit of the works
  • compatibility with the existing tram operating and control systems and electrification equipment
  • track mounted equipment and electrical connections

Light Rail


We’ve got extensive experience in all facets of tram infrastructure planning and design, including tracks, overhead wiring, power feeders, accessible tram stops, and tram depots. We also have the capability to address the ancillary elements of design including risk analysis, safety, street lighting, traffic modelling, geotechnical investigations, urban design, architecture, environmental assessments, planning and stakeholder engagement.

Our clients are looking for sustainable, cost effective and community-enhancing light rail solutions. GHD appreciates and understands light rail projects from planning imperatives, including heritage implications, to preparation of constructible infrastructure designs that comprehend the requirements of all stakeholders.

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