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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
George Lythgoe

''Drawing the line in the sand": Metrolink for Greater Manchester town demanded

Leigh wants Metrolink sooner rather than later, that is the message from Wigan Council.

In Wigan Town Hall’s council chamber Coun Dane Anderton proposed to write to the GMCA and TfGM to bring forward a business case for the inclusion of Leigh as a Metrolink terminus. Although Leigh is mentioned in Transport for Greater Manchester’s forward 2040 plan, Coun Anderton believes this will not happen fast enough unless they as a council “draw the line in the sand”.

GMCA’s ambitions for metro/tram-train services sets out schemes that they hope to develop options to potentially extend Metrolink to Bolton, Wigan and Stockport.

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The full council meeting on April 12 heard how Leigh had “limitations” when it came to transport - with those getting to Manchester from the town having to choose between the Leigh Guided Busway or travelling by car. Coun Anderton said he wants to see that diversified.

Talking about the expansion of the Metrolink, he said: “Now is the right time to address this. This is the moment we are seeking to bring Metrolink to this borough.

“This is happening, it’s gone to Trafford, it’s gone to Trafford Park, it’s gone to Manchester Airport, it’s supposed to be going to Stockport. It’s going north, it’s going south, it’s going east, but it isn’t going west - why?

Councillor Dane Anderton, Lead Member District Centres and Night Time Economy at Wigan Council and chair of Leigh Labour Party (Wigan Council)

“We want to get this as a priority.”

There was huge support for this motion given the complaints about the reduction of service of the V2 on the Leigh Guided Busway (LGB) from Coun Stuart Gerrard and Coun John Harding. Leigh is notoriously known as one of the largest towns in the North West without a train station, after the rail line was axed back in 1969.

The busway was launched in 2016 to improve transport issues. Following Covid, the V2 bus service from Atherton - part of the LGB - was reduced due to a lack of use and controversially, it hasn't reverted back to the way it was.

Plans have rolled on for a train station in the Leigh constituency with Golborne seen as the chosen location given its location is in close proximity to an active railway line. That is now only a government sign off away from becoming a reality.

Although the Golborne Station plan has moved along at pace, ever since Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham suggested in 2019 he would like to see Metrolink extend into Wigan, Bolton and Stockport - nothing has changed. This is why the council voted with Coun Anderton’s motion to write to Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and TfGM to speed up this process and, in the councillor’s words, “put our foot down and draw our line in the sand”.

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