UK: On April 25 Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive announced it had selected the M-Pact Thales consortium as the preferred bidder for a three-line expansion of the Metrolink light rail network (RG 10.07 p649).

GMPTE is now seeking final sign-off from the Department for Transport before awarding the Metrolink Phase 3a design, build and maintain contract to the consortium of Thales UK, Laing O'Rourke and GrantRail.

From central Manchester one line will run 22 km to Oldham and Rochdale over a converted suburban railway, a second line will run 6·4 km east to Droylsden, and the third extension will run 2·9 km south from Trafford Bar to Chorlton-cum-Hardy. This will nearly double the size of the network.

The contract will also include a 400 m branch to the MediaCity:UK development in Salford Quays if legal powers are granted by the government.