Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is set to complete construction works on a new Metrolink line through Manchester city centre by the year-end, with the final rails already in place.
The £165m Second City Crossing is part of the Grow project and comprises more than £1bn invested in Manchester city centre infrastructure improvements.
The crossing leaves Victoria Station and stretches along Corporation Street to a new stop at Exchange Square.
The route's first phase from Victoria Station through to a new stop at Exchange Square was opened by TfGM in December last year.
Civil engineering works such as installation of overhead lines to power the trams along the route are due for completion by the year-end.
Contractor M-Pact Thales (MPT) worked with utility companies and TfGM to ensure the line is on track to be completed earlier.
TfGM Committee chair Councillor Andrew Fender said: “Since the Second City Crossing programme began, we’ve seen a huge increase in Metrolink use across the network, from 27 million to 35 million passenger journeys a year. The need for a new line through the city has never been more pressing.
“To make room for more customers we’ve also opened a new tram stop in Exchange Square and competed major rebuilds of a further four city centre tram stops.”
Early next year, a testing and commissioning programme is set to resume before the launch of passenger services.
MPT project director Peter Jones said: "Over the past eight years of partnership with TfGM, we’ve built 58 new tram stops and more than 60km of new track."
Image: TfGM committee chair councillor Andrew Fender with newly laid track outside Central Library in St Peter's Square. Photo: ©Transport for Greater Manchester.