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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Metrolink 'to axe hospital route'
Axing the Wythenshawe loop would save 39m.

A proposed hospital route may be axed on Manchester's threatened Metrolink expansion to save 39m and get the scheme back on track.

The plan means Wythenshawe Hospital, Newall Green and Davenport Green would no longer be served by Metrolink.

The line was originally intended to go from Manchester to Manchester Airport, and then loop back past the hospital.

The rest of the 100m line may be saved by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) plan.

The cost-cutting follows Transport Secretary Alistair Darling's announcement in December 2004 that the government would not fund the entire Metrolink expansion, dubbed the Big Bang.

He said only 520m would be provided after the estimated total cost almost doubled to 900m.

Manchester tram
The total cost of the Metrolink expansion is an estimated 900m

Three new lines were planned as part of the expansion - to Oldham and Rochdale, Ashton-under-Lyne, and to the airport, where a new station has already been built.

No cost-cutting measures could be found in the first two routes, Councillor Roger Jones, GMPTA chairman, said.

He said not enough passengers were expected to use the section of the route which had been axed.

'Probably best deal'

He added: "We've gone through it in detail and we think it would be sensible if only part of that line was done to the airport and not all of it."

A shuttle bus would probably be set up to help people get from the Metrolink to the hospital, he added.

GMPTA is also looking at helping fund the rest of the project through increasing business rates in those areas where the lines would pass through.

Wythenshawe councillor Brian O'Neil said the plan was "probably the best we can get for the people of Wythenshawe".

GMPTA will make a final decision on the Wythenshawe line later in June.

Pay-as-go plans 'need Metrolink'
06 Jun 05 |  Manchester
Metrolink wants cash for upgrades
20 Jan 05 |  Manchester
No new cash for Metrolink plans
16 Dec 04 |  Manchester

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