GM Metro May, Andy Burnham, has called for Manchester to have its own London like underground system in order to solve Greater Manchester's crippling congestion issues.
Andy was speaking at the IPPR North event on the future of rail services when he made the suggestion that the City should follow in the example of London by developing an underground network which would join into the existing network above ground.
With space at a premium in the City the logical solution would be to go underground, although the scheme could be very costly to the City and would need help with funding by central government. There are also logistical challenges in tunnelling beneath existing infrastructure which would greatly inflate the price of any project.
This is not the first time there has been a call for an underground subway system in Manchester as plans were drawn up in the 70s for a two-mile long link line from Piccadilly to Victoria (Picc-Vic Line) which would have ran under the City. Work began in 1974, with excavation underneath the Manchester Arndale, although the £156 million scheme was quickly abandoned in 1977 after funding was unable to be found.
The mayor suggests that a new line GMCrossRail could be linked into the HS2 and HS3 (Northern Power House) lines which are soon to cut through the region, he argued that rather than build them above ground, it should be built routed under the City to save on the need to take up valuable land.
“That for me is now what Manchester needs,”
“To do all this on the surface won’t make sense, otherwise you will turn most of Manchester into a railway station,”
The first step towards improving transport across the City in our opinion would be to have a unified payment and capped travel cost system similar to London's Oyster Card. Metrolink has recently made a step towards this by allowing contactless payments on its tram network. If expanded across a unified local travel network it would help move people out of cars and onto public transport.