Right on cue, the first version of this report is now available. Details of the Marple tram-train proposal start from page 69 (page 72 of the PDF): http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/imagelibrary/downloadMedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=5468
In summary, Transport for Greater Manchester are suggesting an electrified service from Marple connecting onto the Metrolink network just before Piccadilly and then (I'm surprised at this) running on to Eccles as an extension of that existing line (which goes via Salford Quays). Tram-trains would be brand new rolling stock running every 12 minutes via the Bredbury route, which would be entirely given over to this service. A new bay platform would be built at Marple for terminating services, I presume in the undergrowth behind Platform 1, where one used to exist.
They suggest passenger numbers on the line would rise by as much as 60%, and that the current subsidy on the route would no longer be needed with revenue helping to pay off the cost of the new rolling stock and infrastructure.
Stopping services to Sheffield would still call at Marple and Romiley but would then be diverted via Hyde Central and Guide Bridge. Again surprisingly, this specific example doesn't give any suggestion of converting Rose Hill, which I'd have thought would be the more obvious test bed, stating that its service to Piccadilly would remain, with all trains via Hyde. There's also no mention (unless I missed it) of what happens for New Mills, which currently has two trains per hour.
So although this case study finally gives a good bit of detail to the seemingly eternal proposal of converting the line, it might not ring entirely true to how it'll eventually happen... if it ever does. I don't know if TfGM, Network Rail, the council or our councillors want us to "get behind" a proposal like this, but I'm sure if just the first highlighted sentence below were suggested to any user of the service, it'd be met with an immediate: Yes please!
Connection of an existing tram system to the existing heavy rail network, for example the tram train pilot between Rotherham and Sheffield to provide connectivity with city centres and their suburbs to create new journey opportunities, tap new markets, opportunities for new stations. This option is illustrated with reference to modeling conducted by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) of the proposed conversion of the Marple line in Manchester to tram train. The Manchester – Marple route is one of a number of potential tram train schemes in Greater Manchester and the relevant local planning authorities will need to consider the route along with other tram train possibilities in an appropriate strategic context.
The TfGM modelled proposal is a tram train extension of the Metrolink Eccles to Manchester Piccadilly services to run through to Marple, at a 12 minute headway, with:
• all tram train services calling at all stations
• the existing rail services modified as follows:
• all Manchester Piccadilly– Marple / New Mills via Bredbury services are withdrawn
• existing local services from Manchester Piccadilly – Marple Rose Hill via Guide Bridge service are retained
• existing local services from Manchester Piccadilly to Chinley and the Hope Valley (one train per hour) serving Ashburys and Maple are diverted to call at Guide Bridge and Hyde Central, continuing to Romiley, Marple, Strines, New Mills etc.
Specific Marple line infrastructure and rolling stock includes:
• tram train rolling stock
• connection to the Metrolink line
• electrification of Ashburys to Marple rail line for through running and track sharing by Metrolink services
• new bay platform at Marple for terminating Metrolink services
The Marple line tram train proposals are expected to deliver the following changes:
• improved journey times and network connectivity, with the creation of direct journey opportunities from stations on the Marple line to the city centre and beyond, linking into the existing Metrolink network
• extension of programmed Metrolink services running through the city centre to Manchester Piccadilly through to Marple, offering services every 12 minutes thereby delivering a net increase in trains on the route, especially at inner suburban stations. Tram train services would replace some existing heavy rail services, whilst other existing services would be modified
• a more balanced pattern of demand by time of day through attracting a less work dominated range of trip purposes, in large part due to providing a much more attractive service from the inner urban area, which has a much higher trip rate to Manchester city centre for non-work purposes than the outer part of the route
• Adoption of Metrolink fares and ticketing on tram train services.
Loads more general details in the PDF at the link above.
Hope this is interesting to someone!