Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has conducted its first tram test on the new Trafford Park line track ahead of the opening of the £350 million Metrolink extension project next year.

The test tram moved at walking speed as it travelled along Trafford Wharf Road from Pomona to Warren Bruce Road while engineers completed safety checks.

Testing began after contractors M-Pact Thales finished laying 5.5km of tracks that run from Pomona to Trafford Park last week. These tracks will undergo several months of safety checks before driver training begins, TfGM said.

KeolisAmey Metrolink, which oversees the 93km Manchester Metrolink network equipped with Bombardier Flexity Swift M5000 LRVs, will also oversee this extension.

Transport for Greater Manchester Committee chair councillor Mark Aldred said: “When the line opens next year, it will provide a major boost to regional regeneration and economic growth by improving access to the large amount of retail, leisure, business and employment opportunities that exist in Trafford Park.

“It will also help towards reducing congestion and tackling air quality as we give people another, more environmentally friendly alternative to the car.”

TfGM head of Metrolink Danny Vaughan said: “This is another significant moment on our journey towards completion, as our focus now turns to the safety-critical signalling systems and driver training.

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“We’ve still got quite some way to go, but things are progressing very well and people can expect to start seeing a few more trams running up and down the line over the coming weeks and months ahead of the line opening in the first half of 2020.”

The Trafford Park line, which will have six new stops, is due to open in the first half of next year.