The new lines could be complete by 2012, the government says
Work on a new stretch of the Manchester Metrolink tram system is set to start.
The £575m expansion of the tram network, which was approved this year, will see it nearly double in size.
The train line through Chorlton, which closed to passengers in 1967, is being cleared and upgraded to allow trams to take passengers to the suburb.
Lines out of the city centre will also be extended to Rochdale railway station and Droylsden, adding an extra 10 million journeys a year by 2012.
The extensions, which will add 20 miles of track, are expected to be complete by 2012.
The lines currently run from Manchester city centre to Bury, Altrincham and Eccles.
Cash for a bigger expansion of the network was withdrawn by the government in 2004 over spiralling costs.
But the expansion was finally given the go ahead in May, when Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly pledged to put £244m towards the £575m total cost of the scheme.
The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) and the Department for Transport are jointly funding the scheme.
The Chorlton extension will branch off from the Altrincham line, with stops at Firswood, Chorlton-cum-Hardy and St Werburgh's Road.