A little nugget in here, within an otherwise rather vague Manchester "masterplan" for the next 15 years... http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1581573_masterplan-to-take-manchester-into-the-future
An efficient and sustainable public transport system is seen as key to driving the city's economy and connecting people to jobs. Every job would be accessible by public transport, foot or bike, under the blueprint.
It commits to pushing forward with the expansion of the Metrolink to Trafford Park, Stockport and Marple – as well as introducing a cross-city bus package.
Metrolink just opened to Oldham using the old rail line and extensions are currently under construction to Rochdale, Didsbury and the Airport/Wythenshawe. The Trafford Centre line is unfunded but will probably come soon after. It looks like Marple and Stockport will then finally
be at the top of the list.
About the tram-train plan in particular (linking Marple into the Metrolink using special trams that are also allowed to run alongside Sheffield trains on our heavy rail lines), I believe Transport for Greater Manchester will be publishing some kind of draft document later this year about their intentions.
For anyone wondering about trams vs trains, this article from Oldham
is good for some examples. Oldham now has 76 tram services
to Victoria on a Sunday (a tram every 15 minutes!), versus just 13 trains when it was a rail line. Also a consistent 15 minute service into each evening and a last tram home at 12.36am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Marple currently has 11 trains to Piccadilly on a Sunday from May to September and just 7 trains for the rest of the year.