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Buses: Current Issues

2282693 Views 16161 Replies 424 Participants Last post by  WatcherZero
Since there isn't a thread that groups together non-Metrolink public transport here is a new one, bit late for the M60 widenning (finishes in a couple of weeks), however, BBC NW news this morning reporting that Virgin are set to increase the frequency and the speed of the Manchester to London trains.

Given they take 2hrs at the moment and run every 30mins they sure are going to be very very good competition for the planes.

All good stuff in my opinion, no doubt Virgin will put a press release out later that will be reported in the MEN.
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M60 widening.

We should be ashamed of ourselves. :) This scheme deserved a thread, it's amazing.


Numerous pictures from the Highways Agency site.

I'll start them off. Link for all the pictures below.

I do remember now Metrolink. I have the pleasure of driving through/past the widening works everyday. :)

People are so short sighted.
Metrolink said:
I did start a thread of (several years ago) and got moaned at since it wasn't a Skyscraper.
London in 90 minutes on £14bn super-line

A PLANNED new super-high-speed railway line could cut the journey time from Manchester to London to just 90 minutes.

Network Rail is considering building a £14bn track which would run adjacent to the existing West Coast mainline.

The line would start in Glasgow and run through Manchester on its way to London.

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Tilting trains, running flat out at 180 mph, could mean a trip from Glasgow to London would take three hours and Manchester to the capital just 90 minutes - shaving more than half an hour off current times.

The latest tilting trains are currently limited to 125mph because of the old track. Until 2008, when upgrading work is completed, trains have to slow down around Rugby.

Network Rail's deputy chief executive Iain Coucher was expected to unveil the proposals at a conference by the Institution of Civil Engineers today in London.

Mr Coucher was also expected to tell the conference that Network Rail has estimated the line could be built for between £11bn and £14bn. A fleet of electric trains - similar to the TGVs operating in France - will cost another £650m.

For the scheme to be viable, the firm has calculated that the service will need to carry 21m passengers a year within a decade and 30m in 15 years' time.

A spokesman for Network Rail admitted the proposals did exist and added: "It's one of the options that will be discussed. Before any plans go ahead, they need to be based on sound business costings - which have yet to be carried out."

David Sidebottom - north west spokesman for Passenger Focus, which is dedicated to getting travellers the best deal - said that one of the main problems with the new proposal would be generating the cash to build the infrastructure.

He said: "The notion of building another line at the side of the current one is the equivalent of building another motorway at the side of the M6."
M60 is now cone/sign free. :)

Traffic jams/tail backs both ways this afternoon.:gaah:

The 10 lane stretch looks awesome. Gets me to work in 15 minutes.

A57(M) Mancunian Way

The Mancunian Way, nearly 2 miles in length included the first section of truly urban motorway to be constructed in the Region.

It is a lateral road along the southern fringe of the central area of the City of Manchester. Its primary purpose was to carry the traffic, much of it commercial, moving between the industrial areas on the east side of the conurbation through to Manchester Docks and Trafford Park. Formerly, most of this traffic had to pass through the centre of the City and, in consequence, caused considerable congestion.

A further important function of the road was to act as a distributor between the heavily trafficked main radial roads south of the City centre.

It was the intention that it would form part of a comprehensive network of urban motorways envisaged in the SELNEC (South East Lancashire and North East Cheshire) Highway Plan of 1962.

The early proposals for the route were formulated in 1959, following traffic surveys carried out by the then City Engineer and Surveyor. It was decided that the road would have to be elevated on the section from west of Medlock Street to just east of Sackville Street, a length of approximately 1400 yards. This was the only practicable way of providing the necessary grade separation at the closely spaced intersections of the motorway with Medlock Street, Cambridge Street, Oxford Road and Brook Street, all of which are important radial routes.

The City Council was the Highway Authority for the scheme and the design of the ground level roads, service diversions, drainage and landscaping was carried out by the City Engineer and Surveyor. G Maunsell & Partners, Consulting Engineers, were appointed to undertake the design of the elevated structure and the supervision of the construction of all the works.

The statutory procedures for the other motorways in the Region were undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the various Highways Acts applicable at the time. In contrast, the Corporation promoted a Parliamentary Bill to authorise the construction of the Mancunian Way and this received Royal Assent in 1961.

The project was carried out in two stages. Work on the first stage, which involved the construction of a 950 yard length of all-purpose length of dual carriageway east of A6, started in November 1963. It was opened to traffic in November 1965.

The second stage, between A6 and the A56 was designed as a motorway and construction commenced in December 1964. It included the elevated section, which is a prestressed concrete structure 3232 feet 6 inches long between the end abutments. Of the thirty two spans, twenty eight are each 105 feet long, two are 60 feet to accommodate ground level features and the eastern and western spans are 97 feet 6 inches and 75 feet respectively.

Between Cambridge Street and Brook Street the layout changes from dual two-lane to dual three-lane carriageways. With a lane width of 11 feet, the overall width of the eastern part of the structure is 79 feet and elsewhere, 61 feet. Ramped connections from the local road system are provided at Cambridge Street and Brook Street.

The main carriageways were designed for a speed of 40 mph and to have a minimum radius of 1500 feet and maximum superelevation of 1 in 35. The maximum gradient was to be 1 in 25, and 1 in 19 on the intermediate ramps where the minimum radius was 109 feet, both made necessary by the need to accommodate the basic geometry of the existing ground level road network.

The bedrock is predominantly Bunter Sandstone of Triassic age, but over a short length adjacent to the West Manchester Fault the bedrock is Manchester Marl of Permian age. The rock is overlain by glacial drift varying in depth from about 8 to 47 feet, the depth being greatest near the middle of the alignment.

The standard foundation consists of two reinforced concrete bored piles and a linking pile cap under each column. The two piles, placed transversely to the main centre line of the structure, provide a 'couple' to resist the high lateral moments due to eccentric live loading, bearing restraint, centrifugal and wind forces, while the smaller longitudinal moments from friction are counteracted by the piles in bending. The piles are between 3 feet and 4 feet 6 inches in diameter and are belled out in the solid sandstone bedrock. The maximum base diameter of 7 feet was used in the region of the West Manchester Fault, where the piles were founded in marl. Before each pile was cast the footing was visually inspected and in many cases in situ plate bearing tests made to confirm the suitability of the rock to withstand the design loading.

The reinforced concrete columns are of rectangular solid section, tapering on the longitudinal sides and vertical on the transverse faces. They are monolithic with the pile caps.

The main structural element is a hollow box spine beam with the top slab cantilivered out on both sides. Over 85% of the superstructure is constructed with precast concrete units of uniform cross section. The transition section between the two and three lane parts of the structure is formed with in-situ concrete, and includes the ramps which carry a single traffic lane.

In contrast to the Hammersmith Flyover, when three basic types of precast unit were used for the beams, cantilevers and deck slabs, the functions of all three were combined in a single unit. As a result, both the casting and erection were simpler and more economic.

The joints between the segments were of in-situ concrete of 3 inch nominal thickness to allow for irregularities in the casting of the units and some latitude in erection.

After positioning the units on staging and the completion of jointing, Freyssinet multi-strand prestressing cables were threaded through pre-formed ducts within the webs.

The extremities of the superstructure, including the intermediate ramps, are terminated in solid reinforced concrete end blocks which formed effective anchorages for the main prestressing cables.

An embossed copper waterproofing membrane was laid over the entire carriageway area followed by a 2¾ inch thick double layer of hot rolled asphalt surfacing.

The bridge over the River Medlock was constructed with a deck of standard precast prestressed beams spanning 38 feet 7 inches.

The eighteen pedestrian subways included in the scheme were designed as reinforced concrete box culverts with the walls finished in glazed tiles.

The second stage was opened to traffic in March 1967.

The traffic islands beneath the elevated section were extensively landscaped in order to provide attractive secluded rest areas for local residents. Areas flanking the road along its entire length received similar treatment.

The 'Mancunian Way' was officially opened by Mr Harold Wilson, on the 5th of May 1967, the second time a section of motorway in the Region had been opened by the Prime Minister in office.
£75m earmarked for city transport work

GREATER Manchester will get more than £75m from the government for transport improvements next year.

The cash is part of the annual local transport capital settlement which this year has given £213m to the north west and £1.25bn nationally.

It will be used for improvements including road safety measures, street lighting, road maintenance, park-and-ride facilities and cycle lanes.

The north west will also get £13.2m through a road safety grant, announced last year to replace the system of funding speed cameras through income from fines. In Greater Manchester, £46.3m will go on transport measures and another £28.9m on road maintenance.

The county has been awarded an extra £4.5m because its local transport plan - produced for all 10 districts - has been judged "good" by Department for Transport experts.

But the decision includes criticism of the councils' approach to tackling traffic problems. It says: "The congestion elements of the plan remain disappointing both in quality of analysis and related targets.


"Given that congestion is a key issue across the conurbation and for the local transport plan, it is not given the weight in the plan it deserves."

The Department for Transport has praise for the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority's £32m Quality Bus Corridor network, which it says "has provided substantial benefits to local bus passengers".

Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander said: "The government has invested more than £9bn in local transport across the country over the last six years. The improvements made with this money have benefited passengers, motorists and local businesses across the country. We have seen sustained progress in reducing local road casualties.

"The condition of many local road networks is improving. Better infrastructure for buses, cyclists and pedestrians has been put in place so local transport is making a contribution to more sustainable development and economic growth."

Stockport gets the lion's share of the maintenance budget (more than £6m), and Trafford gets the least (just under £1.5m).
That's a disgrace. I nearly choked on my kielbasa when I heard that.
One hundred of 130 of the drivers at UK North are Polish the hearing was told many had a poor understanding of English.
No UK North buses outside COMS tonight after the game.

BTW. If anyones still looking for a turkey don't worry. We've got eleven at Citeh.
The mind f***ing boggles. :nuts:

Vandals hack at bridge

THE M60 was closed for three hours last night after vandals tried to hack down a suspension bridge.

A member of the public alerted police that one of the 20 steel cables which suspend a footbridge over the motorway had been severely damaged.

A number of strands of the cable had been severed, although the cable remained intact.

Police closed the motorway between junctions seven and eight at 8pm. It was re-opened at 11pm after engineers decided the bridge remained safe.

However, the Mersey Valley footbridge will remains closed until the damage is repaired.

It was one of two suspension bridge erected over the M60 in Sale as part of a £102m motorway widening scheme completed in 2005.

The second footbridge, which leads to Sale Water Park, has not been damaged and remains open.


A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: "The motorway was closed as a precautionary measure by the police after damage was found to the steel cables supporting the footbridge.

"The Highways Agency sent a bridge inspector along to check what the position was and it is a clear act of vandalism.

"The footbridge will remain closed for some time while it is repaired. It is too early to say how long that will take but it's likely to be an expensive exercise.

"It was built as part of the recent improvements to the M60 between junctions five and eight.

"It is supported by 20 steel cables which are made up of smaller strands which are woven together like rope.

"The vandals have cut through some of the strands but fortunately not enough to affect the integrity of the bridge and make it unsafe for traffic to drive under it. They are built to withstand any damage that might come their way. They are very strong."

Police are investigating the incident.
It's not going to be easy to persuade car drivers to change to public transport with fare increases like this.

Revealed: Huge bus fares increase

PRICES: Going up...A HUGE rise in bus fares is set to hit hundreds of thousands of children, pensioners and disabled people across Greater Manchester.

Concessionary tickets are expected to increase from 50p to about 85p in a bid to overcome a cash shortage and cover the cost of free off-peak fares for pensioners.

Almost 400,000 children will be affected as well as over-60s and disabled people travelling in rush hour.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) was today due to consider an increase of 10p on concessionary fares to 60p for each single journey. But now that increase is expected to be much higher - about 70 per cent - after a ruling by the Department for Transport. Yesterday, the department ordered that bus companies should be paid more by the GMPTA to cover the costs of a government initiative to provide free off-peak fares for pensioners.

Transport bosses say they cannot raise the extra cash from council tax so they will have to increase fares or cut services.

Concessionary fares are available to under-16s all day and to over-60s and disabled people before 9.30am.

GMPTA chairman Roger Jones said: "The leaders are under pressure over council tax so I doubt very much whether we can persuade them to increase our levy.


"That leaves us with two choices - to increase the concessionary fare to half fare, which is an average of 85p, or cut back on the £30m budget for supported bus services, which includes £10m for school buses and those routes we subsidise because they are not commercially viable.

"I would be very sad to see those cut back but we are in a very difficult position. Why the government has done this I don't know."

The introduction of free off-peak fares for pensioners means that GMPTA needs to find an extra £3.4m before the end of next month and another £3.5m in the next financial year.

This comes on top of the £22m it already pays to the operators to cover the free fares.

The authority's annual budget of more than £150m is paid from council tax and has to be agreed by the leaders of Greater Manchester's 10 district councils.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) voted last week to limit the rise to four per cent this year - which would have led to the 10p rise in concessionary fares originally due to be agreed today. But the new financial pressures mean the rises look set be much higher.

The crisis also looks set to lead to plans to lease more train carriages to ease overcrowding being put on hold.


The problems come just a week after leaders of AGMA ordered officials to draw up details of proposals for congestion charging in Greater Manchester as part of a bid to the government in July for money from its Transport Innovation Fund.

It wants a grant to improve public transport and pay for Metrolink extensions to Oldham and Rochdale town centres, the airport, and Ashton under Lyne. And it also comes as the government is considering giving local councils more power to control bus services after a campaign by the GMPTA - backed by the M.E.N. - after `bus wars' brought the city centre to a halt in September.

Earlier this month the M.E.N. revealed the biggest bus company in Greater Manchester was raising fares by up to 10 per cent.

First Manchester blamed rises in fuel prices and the need to bring in new buses.

The rises came on the back of other increases within Greater Manchester for the System One travel cards which cover all operators and went up by an average seven per cent on January 2.
Don't know how old this is or if it has already been implemented. Haven't read it yet.
Road works started last night. Got caught in traffic on London Road. Nightmare. Great pics Mark.
There were leaflets of the information on that site knocking about town a few months back, says it will start in the summer; the parts around Piccadilly place will have needed the works on site to reach a level of completion, guess its been timed to fit with that. Quite a few simple but useful changes, especially around the currently dangerous tram/road/pedestrian intersection at Aytoun St, hopefully will improve things.

Labour keep key transport role

AN attempt to take control of public transport in Greater Manchester from Labour has been defeated.

Salford Labour councillor Roger Jones has been re-elected for a seventh consecutive term as chairman of Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority after a Lib Dem bid to take control was snubbed by the Tories.

Each of Greater Manchester's 10 districts nominate members to the PTA and, following May's local elections, composition of the powerful authority is 16 Labour, 11 Lib Dem, five Conservative, and one independent.

In theory, the two opposition parties could have combined to unseat Coun Jones, one of the architects of plans to introduce congestion charging.

It would have meant Labour losing overall control of the transport decision making body for the first time since it was formed 20 years ago.

But at the authority's annual meeting, the Conservative group announced that it would not enter a pact and believed the chairman should come from the party with the most number of seats.

Coun Jones said: "I'm pleased I've been re-elected during a year in which the future of our transport system will be determined.

"If Greater Manchester decides to submit a bid to the government's Transport Innovation Fund in July, we could see a £3 billion investment in public transport over the next few years as well as the introduction of congestion charging."

But the meeting had to be adjourned as the parties failed to agree on the proposed allocation of seats on committees.

Coun Jones has a seat on the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities which is trying to win the approval of the public and businesses to bid for the £3bn government money to expand the Metrolink system.
Manchester boroughs top traffic growth chart

The Greater Manchester boroughs of Tameside and Oldham have topped a table of the places in the UK where traffic has grown fastest over the last decade.

The figures compiled by the environmental group the Campaign for Better Transport found that traffic volumes had grown by 38.6% in Tameside, closely followed by Oldham's 34.5% rise.

Politicians in both areas, to the North East of Manchester on the M60 orbital, this summer voted in favour of Greater Manchester's Transport Innovation Fund bid, which could lever in a total investment package of £3bn. Extensive improvements to public transport, including more trams, buses, trains and dedicated yellow school buses, are envisaged ahead of the introduction of a road-pricing system. A decision is due from the Government in the New Year.

Stephen Joseph, executive director of the Campaign for Better Transport, formerly known as Transport 2000, said: "We can't go on like this. Traffic is destroying our communities, our health and our environment."

A study by the Department for Transport predicts that an extra 6m cars will be running on British roads by 2031, a total of 33.5m.
Arriva's passenger pledge
Alan Salter

CHEAPER fares and an end to overcrowding are promised by the new operator of many of Manchester's long-distance train services.

Arriva took over the massive CrossCountry rail franchise from Virgin at midnight.

The company's routes include those from Manchester to Birmingham and on to Stansted Airport, Bristol and the south west and Reading and the south coast.

Most of the 1,800 staff have transferred from Virgin.

Virgin keeps control of the Manchester to Scotland services for another month before handing them over to TransPennine Express. Virgin also continues to run its Pendolino services from the north west direct to London.

Launched in 1997, CrossCountry runs trains to more than 100 stations from Aberdeen to Penzanze, but has had problems with punctuality.

Ironically, Virgin recorded its best ever figures last month, doubling annual passenger numbers from 12m to 24m in a decade.

Virgin has also replaced the fleet and increased services over its 10 years in charge - but Arriva is promising even more.

Managing director Andy Cooper said: "Over time we will make radical improvements to the service we provide to customers, making travelling by train and changing trains easier and simpler.

"Importantly, we will be providing what CrossCountry passengers most want - more seats at busy times."

Virgin's ultra-modern Voyager diesel trains have been criticised for being cramped. Mr Cooper said that the interiors will be altered to provide more seats.

The company is also promising a 35 per cent increase in seats in evening peak times on the main routes.

Five new high-speed trains will be leased for routes from the north east, freeing up Voyager trains for the north west.

Passengers will be able to print their tickets at home and get them sent to their mobile phones, with cheap tickets sold closer to the departure time.

Extra security staff will be hired to travel on routes as part of a new `secure trains scheme'.

The new franchise goes head-to-head with a recently-launched air service from Manchester to Stansted.

Eastern Airways offers a 7.15am departure aimed at business commuters.

Chris Holliday, chief operating officer, said: "We will beat the trains on time but I think there is room for both of us."
Mills alive to sound of steam
Ciara Leeming

STEAM will rise again over Manchester's skyline as a new tourist train celebrates pur industrial heritage.

The Cotton Mill Express, which ran a trial last month, has been given the green light to operate from Victoria Station next year.

It is a six-hour `Pennine circular' tour, passing many of Lancashire and Yorkshire's former textile mills as it travels 100 miles via Stalybridge, Diggle, Huddersfield, Hebden Bridge, Burnley, Blackburn, Darwen and Bolton. The 400-passenger capacity trains will operate with steam locomotives and period coaches dating back to the '50s and '60s.

They will run once a month from Saturday January 12 - but could increase to fortnightly if demand is high.

Promoter Past-Time Rail has set firm dates with Network Rail through to July. Further dates for the second half of the year will be confirmed soon.

Each journey will see 10 carriages pulled by a pair of locos `double-heading'.

Trains will run on Saturdays January 12, February 9, March 15, June 14 and July 26, and on Sundays April 6 and May 18.

They will depart at 10.10am, returning to Victoria at 4.06pm. Standard adult fare will be £42.50 and first class £66.50, with discounts for four or more.
Virgin touts £5 promo fare to London in '09

Virgin Trains is to cut some fares and increase capacity on its Manchester to London routes from January 2009.

The company, which operates trains on the West Coast Mainline between London and Glasgow, plans to run as many as three trains an hour between London and Manchester, according to a spokeswoman. It will also reorganise its fare structure, with some ticket prices expected to cost as little as £5.

The spokeswoman couldn’t say how many seats would be available at the lower price, but said that at least 10 per cent of capacity must be available at any advertised tariff. Currently the cheapest advance ticket available between Manchester and London costs £12.50.
New company plans ferries on ship canal
Peel backs link from Trafford to Salford and Manchester city centre
By James Chapelard

Water buses carrying up to 120 passengers along Greater Manchester's little used waterways could be in place by spring 2009.

The brand new public transport service would run from Warrington to the Trafford Centre and Salford's Media City, and from there to Manchester city centre via the River Irwell.

Peel Holdings, which intends to construct an extension to the canal to reach the Trafford Centre, is in talks with the newly formed Manchester Water Bus Company Ltd, set up by entrepreneur Jonathan Price.

Price is carrying out feasibility studies, although details are being kept under wraps. Those behind the project see the buses as a clear alternative to road transport as Greater Manchester councils press ahead with the congestion charge, fiercely opposed by Peel.

Obstacles to be overcome include a small number of locks along the canal but it is hoped funding will be available to make alterations. Mike Butterworth, managing director of The Trafford Centre, said: “It is something we have been talking about for a long time. The serious work has started.

“We have locks in the way and they are quite big and not designed for small boats. The locks will need modifying. We are hoping the NWDA is going to help.”

Peel, which owns large chunks of land in the area, has already secured planning permission to build a 600 metre-long canal between the Trafford Centre and Manchester Ship Canal, although it is unclear yet when work will start on it.

Peel is awaiting the decision on relocation of Trafford Town Hall to the area as it would like to combine the two projects.

The new branch would be the first canal to be built in Greater Manchester for more than 100 years. Peel is also exploring the possibility of building flats and a small marina in the area. But neither Peel nor Manchester Water Bus Company Ltd have yet decided how frequent the buses will be.

It is thought Manchester Water Bus Company Ltd is working on a number of ways to push the project forward, including a partnership with other organisations.

Peel hopes the scheme will pull more tourists into the Trafford Park area which already benefits from Old Trafford, The Chill Factore and the centre itself. Butterworth added: “If you carry a necklace of attractions it brings more and more people into the area. We are keen on anything that draws in more activities and more people and tourists.”

Manchester Water Bus Company was registered last year at Companies House but Price said he was not yet in a position to release more details. However, he confirmed his company, which was specifically set up for the project, was exploring linking Warrington, Salford Quays, Manchester City centre and the Trafford centre.

He said: “It's very exciting. We have a number of players in place. It will be the most innovative transport system for centuries since the canals were built. We are looking at 120-seaters.”
The plans for the canal extension to the Trafford Centre are out there somewhere. Remember posting them years back.
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