UK: Manchester Metrolink’s East Didsbury extension opened ahead of schedule on May 23. The 4·4 km extension of the South Manchester line from St Werburgh’s Road in Chorlton adds five stops to the network. It follows the former Midland Railway heavy rail alignment which closed to passengers in 1967.

Services run at 12 min intervals, dropping to 15 min intervals on Sunday early mornings and evenings. Journey times from East Didsbury to the city centre are 30 min.

‘Having a well-connected city where people can easily access employment, social and leisure opportunities is absolutely fundamental to Manchester’s future success,’ commented Councillor Nigel Murphy.

The latest extension follows on from the opening of recent extensions to Droylsden and Rochdale railway station, and brings the network to 73·4 route-km. Future extensions are due to open to Ashton-under-Lyne in 2013-14, Oldham and Rochdale town centres in 2014, and Manchester Airport in 2016. A second 1·6 km on-street route through the city centre is also planned.