Manchester Metrolink

Manchester is the biggest and most representative city in the northwest side of England. It has a great industrial heritage and a lot of sites full of history. There is also an amazing legendary live music scene going on around Manchester. There are also the astonishing museums and the world´s oldest public library.

Riding the Manchester Metrolink

A few years back Manchester received a lot of tourists who were mainly looking forward to spend their time in this historically iconic city, shopping, watching and doing sports games and stepping into the nightlife. Actually Manchester does offer some of the best stores for shopping, great sport centers and sport bars, as well as a wide variety of bars and clubs for nightlife.

How will you get by?

The Manchester Metrolink is the easiest and most effective mean of transportation to get around the city and be able to go wherever you need without any stress and staying on your budget. Just to give you an idea in between 2015 and 2016 the Manchester Metrolink had as much as 34.3 million passengers enjoying their journeys in this transportation system. This is a really good reference to have. The passengers had good experiences during their trips in the Manchester Metrolink and were satisfied. Arriving on time and without getting confused in the way is a must when using public transportation.

You might feel like the Manchester Metrolink, might be hard to figure out how it works and so you might go for a different option. But you don’t have to panic and leave this great option out. In this article we will explain how it works and all the details you need so you won´t be in trouble at any time.

The Manchester Metrolink system

It is composed of seven lines. They are interconnected and start from Manchester city center. That is just the starting point and it ends all the way to the terminal at Altrincham. Manchester Metrolinks takes you from the city center to these stations too: Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury, East Didsbury, Eccles, Manchester Airport and Rochdale. These are the ending stations. But the Manchester Metrolink, actually has 93 stops in a ratio of 57 miles. This covering ratio, gives Manchester the position of the city with the largest light rail system in the entire United Kingdom.

The rail:

It works on a combination of on-street tracks. These tracks are not separated from the traffic on the regular streets. It has a reserved track and stops are comfortably accessible. It is usually placed along the side of the roadway or in the central track which is reserved for the light rail to pass freely. The rails operate by the fleet company of: Bombardier Flexity Swift M5000s.

How was the Manchester Metrolink created?

It is always interesting to check the history behind any type of greatly designed rail transportation system. In the case of the Metrolink, it was originated due to the failure of the: Picc-Vic tunner. This happened during the 1970´s.

The proposal for the light rail transportation system took place in 1982. It was proposed as the least expensive rail transportation system to solve the transportation problem that the city of Manchester had at the time. Due to all the benefits and the savings in investment it meant for the city, the government approved the Manchester Metrolink in 1988.

But the transportation system began to work in 1992. This was a historical year for the city of Manchester. Since they inaugurated the Manchester Metrolink, this also meant for them to have the first modern steel-running rail transportation in the whole country. So Manchester was the first city to have such system in the United Kingdom.

Future Expansion:

During the following years the Metrolink faced expansion projects. The expansion projects were names: Phases 1, 2, 3a, 3b and 2CC. Therefore it will be successful to build a second line in through Manchester´s city center. The second line will make it possible to eliminate the currently bottleneck, which will go out of work by the end of this year.

How does it work?

So here is the most important part. To always stay updated on the daily changes of the lines it is advisable to constantly check the website which provides updates information. This is because some lines may be experiencing part-closure on the day you want to use it. Although this is not a common thing to happen.

The Manchester Metrolink, operates by routes. It has 7 lines and a full of 93 stops. The lines take you from station 1 to the last and there are stops in between.

Lines and stations

Let´s take a look at the lines:

Altrincham – Deansgate-Castlefield (Yellow color)

Stops: Altrincham Navigation Road Timperley Brooklands Sale Dane Roade Stretford Old Trafford Trafford Bar Cornbrook

Manchester Airport – Cornbrook (Orange color)

Stops: Manchester Airport, Shadowmoss​, Peel Hall​, Robinswood Road​, Wythenshawe Town Centre​, Crossacres​, Benchill, Martinscroft​, Roundthorn, Baguley, Moor Road, Wythenshawe Park​, Northern Moor​, Sale Water Park​ , Barlow Moor Road​, Chorlton
, Trafford Bar, Cornbrook

Manchester Airport – Firswood (Green color)

Stops: Manchester Airport, Shadowmoss, Peel Hall, Robinswood Road, Wythenshawe Town Centre, Crossacres, Benchill, Martinscroft, Roundthorn, Baguley, Moor Road, Wythenshawe Park, Northern Moor, Sale Water Park , Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, Firstwood

East Didsbury – Deansgate-Castlefield (Sky-blue color)

Stops: East Didsbury, Didsbury Village, West Didsbury, Burton Road, Withington, Chorlton, Firstwood, Deansgate-Castlefield

Media City UK – Deansgate-Castlefield (Pink color)

Stops: Eccles, Ladywell, Weaste, Langworthy, Broadway, MediaCityUK, Harbour City, Anchorage, Salford Quays, Exchange Quay, Pomona, Cornbrook, Deansgate-Castlefields

Ashton-under-Lyne – Bury (Blue color)

Stops: Ashton West, Ashton Moss, Audenshaw, Droylsden, Cemetery Road, Edge Lance, Clayton Hall, Velopark, Edithad Campus, Holt Town, New Islington, Piccadilly, Market Street , Shudehill, Queens Road, Abraham Moss, Crumpsall, Bowker Vale, Heaton Park, Prestwich, Besses o’ th’ Barn, Whitefield, Radcliffe, Bury

Map of Manchester Metrolink

Bury – Etihad Campus (Monday to Saturday only) (Purple color)

Stops: Bury, Radcliffe, Besses o’ th’ Barn, Whitefield, Prestwich, Heaton Park, Bowker Vale , Crumpsall, Abraham Moss, Queens Road, Shudehill, Picadelly, New Islington, Holt Town, Ethad Campus

Shaw and Crompton – Piccadilly (Monday to Saturday only) (Light Green Color)

Stops: Shaw and Crompton, Derker, Oldham Mumps, Oldham Central , Oldham King Street, Westwood, Freehold, South Chadderton, Hollinwood, Failsworth, Newton Heath and Moston, Central Park, Monsall, Shudehill, Picadily

Rochdale Town Centre – Exchange Square (Dark green Color)

Stops: Rochdale Town Centre , Rochdale Railway Station, Newbold, Kingsway Business Park, Milnrow, Newhey, Shaw and Crompton, Derker, Oldham Mumps, Oldham Central , Oldham King Street, Westwood, Freehold, South Chadderton, Hollinwood, Failsworth, Newton Heath and Moston, Central Park, Monsall, Exchange Square

How much are the tickets?

It depends on how far you would like to go. Although the cheapest price for adult one-way tickets are £1. But most of the one-way tickets for adults cost about: £2.10.


  • A single trip for adults: about: £2.10.
  • Round ticket for adults: £3-4.
  • Children under the wage of 5 travel for free.
  • Children under the age of 16 for a short single trip is: £1
  • Children under the age of 16 for a single medium distance trip: £1.40
  • Children between the ages of 11 to 16 need an: ¨Igo pass¨ to be able to pay the less on concessionary fares on buses inside Greater Manchester.

Travel cards:

  • A Peak Adult day travel card is sold for: £7.00. (It is valid all days but only during weekdays.)
  • The Off-peak Adult day travel card is priced at: £5.00 (It is valid after 09:30hrs on weekdays only.)
  • The weekend Adult travel card is sold for: £5.80 (It is valid from 18:00hrs on Friday to midnight on Sunday.)
  • Family travel cards are sold for: £6.20. It includes unlimited trips on all Metrolink line routes. It is available for groups of up to two adults and three children. (It is valid after 9:30 am from Mondays to Fridays and all day on weekends as well as during Bank Holidays.)

Where to buy tickets?

You can purchase them right at the stations but there is also the possibility to buy them online or by getting the Metrolink Manchester App which provides you with online-purchase of tickets, updates on lines and timings of the arrival of the line you might be waiting for.

Schedule & Timing:

Normally the waiting gap from one bus to next is about 12 to 20 minutes.
The Metrolink lines start operating from 6:00 am until midnight.
During peak hours this might change according to the volume of transit.
To be completely sure at all time we recommend that you download the app or check the website. Updates are very useful to follow.

Highlights of sites near some of the stations:

  • Deansgate Castlefiel Station: Are you into art? Just a few blocks away you can find the art gallery: Castlefield Gallery.
  • Victoria Station: If you are into performing arts and happen to be getting off at Victoria, try to book tickets to visit the: Wicked the Musical.
  • Central Park Station: More fun on the way! Try an escape room on your way to Central Park, you can find great fun at: Lockin Real Escape.

But what about art?

There was a project called ¨ Raising The Game¨. Its goals was to boost the visits to art exhibitions around Manchester, so tourists will also come to see the many art galleries that are located all over the place. Whether you are into classic paintings, contemporary or experimental art; Manchester got it all. For all tastes and always offering the most creative exhibitions you will be able to see during your trip.

We hope this information was useful to you and wish you have wonderful experiences riding around Manchester!


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