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Back on Track: Have Your Say
updated 16/12/04
Metrolink tram The campaign to save Metrolink's expansion plan has suffered a setback. The Government says it will only hand over £520m - £400m short of what's needed for three new lines.


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Metrolink: Back on Track

The Metrolink extension plan - dubbed the Big Bang - was earmarked to go to Oldham and Rochdale, Ashton and Manchester Airport.

The Metrolink route map (image from GMPTE)
The Metrolink route map (image from GMPTE)

Click to see a larger version of the Metrolink map >>

But in July, the Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said he was withdrawing funding because the new routes were proving too expensive.

It was a massive blow to the city and councils reacted angrily: Manchester City Council said it was an "appalling decision" and a "major blow" to Greater Manchester. And a Back on Track campaign was launched.

Now, Mr Darling has said that the Government's original promise of £520m is still available.. subject to local authorities coming up with radical plans to improve public transport and reduce congestion.

That's still £400m short of the £900m needed to fund the three new lines to Oldham/Rochdale, Ashton and South Manchester.

Planning for the extensions have been more than a decade in the pipeline. Millions of pounds have already been spent in readiness for the new routes. Homes, schools and offices have been demolished to make way for the axed work. And a new tram station has been built at the Airport.

This discussion is now continued on the message board. Click here >>>

PREVIOUS COMMMENTS :


Joe, Crumpsall
Ian Rickard in Fairfield should get his facts right before criticising other cities. My home town of Newcastle does not even have a tram system, it has an underground train service which has been running successfully since 1974, nearly 20yrs. befor Manchester got Metrolink off the ground, and there has never been any major problems with it. Metrolink in Manchester however, which In use every day to get to and from work is constantly plagued by delays and cancellations, packed trams at peak hrs. and filthy, sub-standard tram stops, travelling through Salford Quays to get to Eccles is a nightmare and where most of the breakdowns occur and prices are continually rising. YES Manchester should get the funds for the extra new lines, especially seeing hoe londons new thames bridge and crossrail are having billions thrown at them, however it also needs to ensure that the lines currently in service are run smoothly and efficently which currently they are not.

Matt Cox, Urmston
I think it would be absolutely brilliant if the metrolink were to expanded to cover a wider area of Greater Manchester, but I'd also like to suggest that they actually get some ticket machines that work... either that, or get ticket inspectors that believe you when you tell them that the machine isn't working. As a Serco Metrolink customer who gets the metrolink into work everyday, its poor and irritating when you get hauled off and made late for work by ticket inspectors who are trying to fine you for their machines not accepting your money.

Andi H From, Sale
Personally i have mixed feelings about the tram. I think its a shame that its been stopped as its already had so much invested and would also enable a lot more people to get about and provide easy access where its otherwise inaccessible. On the flip side one of the lines in particular i dont want to see built. The line to wythenshawe will cause no end of problems. Even the buses dont go round there after 6pm due to trouble so i can't see how the trams would last. I'm all for this public transport system but you also need to police it well and even the current lines aren't done.

Ray Stevens, Moston
I think that there should be a link to Rochdale, as the train service itself is quite appalling. Having this extension will enable better access to the North of Manchester, therefore giving people more incentive to go into the City Centre. This in turn, will bring money into the City by way of shopping, leisure etc.

Andrew, Manchester
I wish people wouldn't complain about the North/South divide! Statistics show that most taxes come from Londoners, and after all London is the Capital. Manchester will always be secondary!

ANTHONY OLDHAM
My vote at the next election will go to the party who say they will finish the link

Maria, Hazel Grove
We're all being encouraged to stop driving - but there is far too little investment in public transport. The trams have been a successful addition to Manchester (although exorbitant parking fees at tram stations haven't helped!). The government needs to put it's money where it's mouth is, and invest more in cycle routes, trams, trains and buses.

Andy, Cheshire
I'm glad it's been binned. Who on Earth thought a system of on-rails, inflexible, expensive coaches was a good idea? If there's a blockage or a breakdown, a tram system cannot go around the obstruction like a car or a bus can. Time to put this anachronistic sytem on the scrap-heap, along with the railways!

kirsty, manchester
i think they should carry on with the extension a lot of people need it!

Chris Stanley, Stroud
I travelled on Metrolink 18 months ago and my journey went as smoothly as it could. It is just as good as DLR and Tramlink (which I have also travelled on) and I cannot think for the life of me why these extensions would not be beneficial to Manchester and the towns surrounding it. A link to the airport is a must particularly. Get Metrolink back on track!

Stu, Timperley
The airport route is vital for cheap transport to get to the airport. i always end up spending a fortune on car parking there.

Howard PARRY Seoul Korea
I was involved with the original Metrolink as a GEC employer. We were promised continuous upgrading and funding. Well GEC has closed and the Metrolink has become a shambles (sic) . I pay for the Metrlonk system as a Wigan rate payer But we will never have it anywher near here. The politicians have screwed up. Integrated transport system will never happen in this town. Check out the system in Seoul Korea. 40 pence travel anywhere in the city by underground or bus.

sarah Chorlton Manchester
I just think it is ridiculous that the government is wanting to scrap the tram extention when it is going to benifit the public so much it would also stop road congestion aswell, i am a driver and if the tram were to run through Chorlton I would definitly choose the tram rather than drive through the town centre. I am also wondering whether it is the bus companies especially Stagecoach who is behind wanting to scap the plans as they would loose alot of money if the tram extention were to happen!!!!

Mark alderley edge
At the moment i am having finacial difficultys so I cant afford and car and the train is to expensive. Bring the tram to alderley !

Alex Beaumont
James from Burnage should get his facts right before he accuses anybody else of getting their facts wrong - Metrolink was NOT built above ground because it was cheap. The ground that Manchester sits upon is not solid enough to support an underground network of tunnels. Building tunnels would compromise the inhtegrity of the Earth upon which the city sits.

Lisa from Manchester
I think the tram service is a disgrace to this city. I can't believe how much the tram system costs, there seems to be more tram inspectors than drivers!! The trams are noisy, dirty and not safe at night. What hope is there for an extension, when metrolink can't even run a decent service now. The number of delays, cancellations, or packed trams, it's a disgrace. I am tempted to almost not buy a ticket. The trams just cause added stress to commuters, I would rather drive into work.

Tony from Burry
I will not support expansion. The current service is poor and I'm sure would get even worse!

Jason Jones, Eccles College
Im glad the plans have been scrapped... the trams are as bad as the trains... slow!

Keith, Manchester
As a daily metrolink traveller i think that any money spent on the metrolink system should be spent on improving the exsisting service before any expansion.

James, Burnage
Joe in Crumpsall is right that Mr Rickard of Fairfield ought to get his facts right about other cities. The Tyne + Wear Metro has been a resounding success and was testament to the vision of the city's leaders at the time. It's widely thought of as superior to the underground networks in london + glasgow. The fact that Manchester has a tram system rather than an underground was just an example of transport in manchester being built on the cheap. The trams hold few more people than a large bus, take far too long to get through the centre of manchester and are an eyesore. the government should have funded a proper mass transit system from the start.

Steve Manchester
You can't use speed cameras to get revenue from trams... of course it's doesn't make sense

Andy, Sale
In Sale, we used to have a fantastic train service that enabled passengers to go Crewe, Chester, Manchester, Stockport and some distance services on a very regular basis. Now we have dirty, unmanned and stations, too few seats and rising costs. We didn't ask for the trams but we were told how "wonderful" they would be...... if only we could turn back the clock.

Caroline, Bury
It's such a shame that the system is being scrapped, as the Met is a fast, convenient way to travel. I am a driver, yet when travelling into Manchester I always park up, and catch the Met in and out of the city. The roads are already too busy, the bus service is slow and often unreliable, and overcrowded. Met stations will always have an unwelcoming vibe, but it is for the Metrolink bosses to resolve that issue by employing extra security staff or working more closely with the police. Scallies are a fact of life! Politicians talk about getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, but it simply won't happen until they are prepared to grant funding to actual initiatives which can achieve this! It's about time Manchester's public transport system was sorted out, even if this happens one aspect at a time.

Gerralyn, Whitworth
I use public transport all the time and was really looking forward to the metrolink coming to Rochdale as this would give me easier access to Manchester and surrounding areas. It would provide a much more environmentally friendly transport system than is presently availiable,throw Agenda 21 issues at the government and make them meet the requirement of community friendly policies reguarding the environment. environment

Chris, Timperley
Quite frankly, an apalling,disgraceful and abhorrent decision!

George Guite m22 5uj
we need this service.

James , Stockport
Time for a North-West Assembly to halt London's decisions.

Chris (Whitefield)
The only extension needed on the Metrolink is to the Airport and Trafford Centre, people will use that, an extension to Ashton, Oldham will be a White Elephant

Richard Manchester
don't extend the stupid thing i hate it. buses are the best route, i never wanted these stupid things there so ugly they should look better. i was really embarrased on a recent trip to sheffield, their trams are clean and look nice and go to key parts of their city. what they must think of our metrolink is beyond me, we should take a page out of Sheffield's book

Claire, Prestwich
It annoys me that the appawling state of our transport systems is just being ignored! But I think that our tram system is better than the buses. Never again will i take the bus into Manchester town centre at 8:15 in the morning, unless I started work at 10.00am! Although the trams can be late & over filled to mention a few, i prefer them to buses anyday. I am quite disappointed that the extension is being scrapped, but with ticket prices going up still, it may prove an expensive luxury. Another thing that annoys me is all the school kids that have to get on the Met, pushing and shoving, only to get off at the next stop! Can you not WALK 5minutes down the road?

Adam from Oldham
Metrolink is rubbish. I am very glad that the trains are staying as they are much faster

Chris (Bury)
Metrolink is noisy, dirty, unsafe at night, due more to the violence and aggresion of the ticket collectors rather than thugs, the stations on the Bury line are a disgrace and its expensive. It brought no economic value to Bury whatsoever, people get to Bury market to shop on the 135. The Eccles line is always quiet due to the expense, so people in North Manchester will always favour the Bus so stop moaning at its demise.

Graham Tattersall, Bury
Scrapping the Metrolink Expansion, at the very same time as the government APPROVED the VASTLY MORE EXPENSIVE London Cross Rail System, is YET ANOTHER example of our PATHETIC & BIASED government aggravating the North - South Divide, while actually promising to do the opposite. They did exactly the same thing with the High Speed Rail Link, that was SUPPOSED to come all the way up to Manchester, only to change their minds and stop the link at London, AFTER local money had already been spent up here, preparing for the service. ANYTHING London wants, it gets, while all the government gives the North West is ....... "two fingers".

John (Bristol)
Hold on a tick.... they’ve pulled funding for a genuine transport initiative to divert funds into the London Olympic bid!?! I can't quite get my head around this - is there anyone in a sufficiently powerful position to challenge this comically unjust & self-serving decision. Can I suggest that MCC escalate this to the European Courts rather than give credence to such a ludicrous betrayal of trust and power by backing down. (oh yeah - Can we move away from this north south divide nonsense. London and the South East gets all the money. Here in Bristol we'd love to get the same levels of investment that have been pumped into the northern cities, Birmingham & Cardiff let alone the powerhouse up the M4)

Chris (Bury)
I think people need to review just what Metrolink has bought to Manchester, its very expensive, dangerous to travel on at night the stations area disgrace. People in Eccles very rarely use it and the same will happen if the new extensions are built.

Mark
I think that metrolink should go a head to the airport and to the trafford centre as them places get busy like a lot of people go to the trafford centre shopping every day over one 1000 people go there every day shopping go there for lunch go to wash a film go bowling and lots of other things you can do at the trafford centre also as the airport gets busy as a lot of people go away on business and a lot of people go on holiday every day and as a lot of people work at the airport and at the traffortd centre

Terry Ring, Lowton
This decision is sadly typical and is one more example of transport planning and investment focusing on the needs of London with much less priority given to the needs of the English Regions, let alone Scotland and Wales. The Channel Tunnel has been open 10 years with massive continuing investment to improve the links into London. Any idea that there should be direct train connections to Paris or Brussels from any one of the Great Metropolitan Cities inthe rest of England or Scotland is not even a distant pipe dream. How many of the planned and recently completed London underground stations would it take to fund the Metrolink extensions.

Jemma Gor
So let me get this right... thousands of pounds ( £750,000) are being spent on a pointless eyesore "B of the Bang" next to the City of Manchester stadium,but they can't afford better transport links! hmmm

Anne Ring
I live on the edge of Greater Manchester, not only should the proposed links be provided but the extension out from Eccles should also be considered. To get into my city Manchester I have no alternative but to take the car. To travel by bus takes far too long is uncomfortable and dirty. England's second city deserves a state of the art transport system. Governments and not just this one think the centre of the universe is London which is rubbish it's time the rest of the country had it's fair share. No one is going to get out of a car until they have a transport system that can offer an alternative.

Diane Lane, Droylsden
I was horrified when I heard the metrolink had been cancelled. The regeneration of our area was depending on it.

Terry Young
When the government are forcing private cars off the road why do they try to stop the extension of the fantasticly efficient Metrolink? To my mind it is because they feel they may need the cash to promote the Olympics in London.

anthony (timperley)
Metrolink are the worst thing that happened to transport in Manchester. If you have ever tried to get to work using Metrolink you know what I mean - ticket machines that reject every other coin, daily delays, disgusting overcrowding, extortionate pricing. Any idea of a timetable is a joke. Far from wanting them to expand and deliver an even worse service, I would like to see them kicked out of the city.

Andrew Williams, Salford
I know that the Metrolink wouldn't be extended to where I live, but the areas and people it would serve would be fantastic. Although I do agree that the price is quite costly, if the Government wanted to do anything it would subsidise travel fares up here or even make the public transport systems public again! I can barely afford to travel as it is, and the bus routes get worse all the time. 6 miles in an hour just doesn't cut it, I could walk faster. Shame I can't live in some of the more successful European countries which actually take pride in supporting the people they are meant to serve with superior public transport. It's amazing how the Government can spend so much money on ridiculous projects like the Millenium Dome and then decimate public projects like transport, schools, healthcare, etc. If only people weren't so apathetic, myself included! London must be its own country and we're just the leeching parasites taking away from London's precious leader's paypackets.

C. Horton in Sale, Cheshire
I use the tram everyday to commute into manchester and have seen the effect it has in getting people out of their cars and into the city in minutes. To deprieve the people of where the proposed extension is inexcuseable. The people of Greater Manchester need an integrated transport system. What money is invested would be returned through local business and tourism. The tram is a fast and reliable service. The Met has helped to launch trams in Sheffield, Nottingham and Newcastle. It is the only method of transport that will encourage people to abandon there cars.

Dylan, Manchester
So the Government is intersted in providing the 'public' with "easy access" to 'public' transport? (for public read London based?)

Richard (Old Trafford)
The decision to shelve the project is indefensible. The benefits of the Metrolink are massive - how are people ever going to give up their cars if government makes decisions like this! I'm all for protest - come on Manchester!

Carl, London
As someone familiar with both cities I am fully aware of the preferential treatment the southern half of the country receives. It's a disgrace to think that the government can make ill-conceived whimsical decisions that affect millions of people up north whilst throwing money down the drain for the olympic bid which is just another white elephant that the majority of people don't want and is a complete waste of money and time. What happened to integrated transport policies?

Francis, Bristol
I find it ironic that Tony Blair has just announced (Tuesday) that "urgent action is needed now to combat global warming". Does he not realise that cars, among other things, contribute to global warming ? How hypocritical to point the finger at the U.S. regarding Kyoto, and then reject the tram extension in Manchester!

Neil, Exiled in Albuquerque
I think it's time to found the Manchester Against Darling (MAD) party. It would have just one purposee - unseating Darling at the next election.

David, Cheshire
It just highlights what we've known for years. Unless votes are concerned, most MPs don't even consider the North at all (unless they're a Labour donor), and truly don't understand how disenfranchised people are becoming. Reflect this in how you vote! Vote for MPs who care for their constituencies, rather than those puppets who tow the party line.

Karl, Manchester
Firstly, for a government that says it is trying to get people out of cars onto public transport, thishas to be one of the most short-sighted decisions possible. Secondly, I think that the case for the new lines would be immeasurably enhanced if the whole Metrolink system were to be integrated into the same GMPTE ticketing system as the trains and buses. Thirdly, well done Manchester for getting the system to it's current level with little help from central government. Lastly, many people are questioning the cost of the work carried out already. To my mind, this is what is known as investment in the future - something seen very rarely these days.

LAURA ELIZABETH JOBSON
I'M SURE ASHTON COUNCIL WHO INSIDENTALLY RUN THE CAPITAL INVESTMENT DEBTS OF OLDHAM COUNCIL, HAVE THE SAME WORRIES RE-THEIVES AND DRUGGIES AS OLDHAM AREA. LEJ NOT THAT BEING A DRUGGIE IS ANYONES FAULT IN THIS DAY AND AGE WHERE THERE IS NO WORK AND NO ONE WANTS 2 PUT 7 YEAR OLDS IN PRISON WHERE THEY WILL B RAPED. LEJ

Stefan, Manchester
Tony Blair has been all over the media recently banging on about how Britain needs to take steps to reduce pollution in order ro reduce global warming. surely expanding a clean form of public transport is a step towards this goal. Lead by example Tony

Kath - Ashton-u-Lyne
I commute every day into Manchester on the train - and believe you me there are already too many commuters which the trainline cannot cope with. The Metrolink was to be my salvation from travelling undersomebodies armpit twice a day. I retire in four years - come on Mr Darling - recognise a desperate need for a better integrated Transport system between Manchester and the City Centre workers

John Smith, West Didsbury
If they are going to withdraw the tram service, which would have been fantastic, the least they can do is give us a fleet of new free busses that are not full of dirty old tramps, drunks and beggars. The present bus service is appaling. It often takes an hour from West Didsbury to city centre. I could walk faster. And charging £1.50 for the pleaseure of being stuck of a filthy litter ridden bus for an hour is going too far.

PB, Leeds
At least the people of Manchester have a partial system. The Minister for Transport for London has cancelled the Leeds tram before a single piece of track has been laid. But the London crossrail has been given the go-ahead regardless of the fact that London already has an underground system.

Gary, Burnley
All the money goes into the big cities, and the rest of us get nothing. Manchester gets too much cash anyway, time for the smaller towns in the region to benefit. They should pay for their own trams, if they really want them, not make the rest of the regions tax payers subsidise them even more.

John, Chesterfield
Isn't there already a railway line to Oldham and Rochdale? Why do Mancunians need another form of transport?

Ronnie - Dundee
I regularly go to manachester and am always impressed by the tram service, so why not extend it to the airport, they have done the same thing with trains lines to the london airports

Joe, Manchester
The millennium-dome got a budget of some of £758m. That kind of money can be shelled out it seems..., as long as the project is a 'benefit' to London!

Mark Williamson, Failsworth
Manchester and the surrounding area need and deserve this Metrolink extension. The arguement of spiralling costs is a non starter. The Scottish Parliament opened this week costing 10 times its original estimate of £40m. It came in at £400m. What's more every tax payer in the country has paid £10 to the cost of the build. We are not even governed by the people who will be using it. I would rather pay my taxes for things that directly affect me.

Tim Willis ashton Under Lyne
I would like to say that I believe that the Government has made the right descision to abandon Metrolink expansion. The idea that 200 million has been spent and irrecoverable is lucicrous most of the money spent has been used to buy up and demolish old substandard housing the sites of which can be reused a whole new school has been built in Droylsden to replace an old victorian building or was this just wasted money. The scheme was also the wrong one for Ashton which alrwady has excelent local transport links whatit needs is a better heavy rail service

Sandra Lamb, Rochdale
I think it is disgraceful

tony ashton
Why can,t politicians just tell the truth about any new transport projects. They do not want them because they do not pay road and fuel tax and all that revenue will be lost. After all it is us all who have to pay to sit in queues of traffic every day and we always end up paying through our noses....

Tom Droylsden
How many people would like a Train "outside there front door,not many i would bet but that's what a lot of people will have if metrolink was to go ahead,so what i can hear people say "it's Progress" or is it?Remember we had Tram's and got Rid of them for enviromently Friendly Electric Trolley Buses,they to have gone we now have a very good bus service from Ashton to Manchester,But and it's a very large BUT it still only carries the same people each day,in order for the Metrolink to PAY it would mean getting rid of the bus services off the present routes and forceing all people who use there cars out of them and on to the Tram ,by what ever means,ie Park and Ride etc,Its a great deal of investment "one Billion Pounds"is a lot to pay for something just to look Modern and Trendy but doesn't.So remember when your forced to leave your car a home in favour of a very long bt Trendy Journey on the Metolink you was told.

Adam, Adam and Mark, Wh§itefield
We pay for the tube, why won't they pay for metro.

Miss Cheetham, Manchester
This is a severe blow for the surrounding areas of Manchester that would have benefited both commercially & financially from the development of the metro. The decision will be a blow for many first time buyers unable to purchase in the city but unable to afford the cost of properties.

ET, Didsbury
I can see the benefits of most of the tramlines suggested but I don't think a tramline to Didsbury is required, the bus service is more than adequate. Plus, can you imagine the chaos through Rusholme if even more fiddling with its road system was done?!

Phil Cunliffe, Bolton
The logic of the government defies belief. They want commuters to get out of their cars and use public transport but the remove finding from one of the biggest public transport schemes in the country. What makes the decision criminal is the amount of money already spent preparing the scheme. The metrolink is not a white elephant like the Dome it serves a useful purpose. I smell a rat in the Houses of Parliament.

Tom (ex-Manchester)
Even being thousand miles away from you suffering mancunians, it hurts to read about the scrapped new routes. I wonder though how much money has already been spent to achieve this decision... Hope you're getting a well laid out and reliable tram system - soon !

Malcolm, Ashton
Why have public transport, when the number of motorists increases anually, we can just keep on persecuting them can't we?.... I think not!!! Bring back the Metrolink

John, Ashton
What about all of the money that has been spent over the past few years on the glossy brochures, the buying up of land, the demolition of various sites etc. Its an absolute disgrace, we were looking forward to having Metrolink in Tameside, as Im sure other areas were. We have all been lead up the garden path by politicians again. I really dont understand the lack of interest in public transport in this country.

Robert Fullard Ashton under Lyne
If the new system is proving to be to expensive and has been 10 years in the planning. Do the tax payers get a refund on a complete waste of time and money. Where is all the money going to go now its not going ahead. If the tram system came to ashton it would make getting to the town centre substantially easier. No longer would i have to hunt around for 45 minutes for a parking space or get lost in meaningless 1 way systems i could drive to ashton and dive on a tram. Which would be excellent. Its all just such a sad waste of peoples time money and effort and as usual the tax payers are the ones who loose out.

Alistair - Lancaster
Not really surprising - The English government have always favoured London over Northern cities when it comes to spending public money. Tony Blair needs to consider his credibility in the North in the run up to election year. And it is a shame that John Prescot has sold us out.

Rock, Watford
I have not used the tram system in Manchester, but what I will say is this: It is so easy to sign a potential forcing corporations fund loss-leading projects. To this degree why not make those who wish to the petition to pay the equivilent of a tram fare. Those who do not pay are clearly those that what some thing which will not benefit them and push there council into further debt. I finding shocking that because of our freedom top protest people think this allows them to speak of matters which do not affect them. pay 60p and and we know your signature carries with it an actual belief that the service is required. if not, bog off and sign something, some where else for no purpose.

John Greenwood - Chorlton, Mcr
As I live in Chorlton, the Big Bang had a direct impact on my commuting to and from work. I was absolutely appalled to find that the funding was not given for the 3 Metrolink Extensions. I cannot comprehend that 10 billion has been given to a scheme in London (whose transport links are excellent already) and not one penny given to Manchester Metrolink, whose system has already taken thousands of cars off the road and become a leading alternative to getting around Greater Manchester. Unfortunately, however, I'm more than certain that Mr Darling has never really had to rely on public transport to get himself to and from work...

chris (crumpsall)
If we dont get the metro back on line who is going to pay for all the landscaping and roads to be fixed and that have been dug up for the metro

Alan Withington
I am chairman of a small business in the manchester/Stockport area and we employ 40 people in the office. we moved our office about 12 months ago and realised that our work force would temporarily suffer until the "tram" service was implemented. We hav now been advised that there is not going to be a tram system incorporated but a new train system will be completed in London. Please let Mr. Blair know that the North West is very keen on "history" and he will be remembered as another failed politician who spends his time making promises that he cannot convert.

Rob, Didsbury
It's a very bad decision but I hear the powers that be are in shock at the amount of anger it has caused. I just hope someone sees sense and we get the system we need in manchester. I'm sure if necessary the plans can be modified to put the system back on track. Keep up the campaign everyone!

Oliver (Manchester)
Since living up here now for the last 3 years, I have been a far prouder citizen of Manchester than I ever was of London. The city is far easier to travess than London due to many factors particular to the city, one of which being the metrolink herself. In comparison to the creeking, half baked and extreemly intimitating transport services that London has to offer, which I frequently used before I came to live here, the metrolink offered a reliable, quick, easy to use service, who's only downfall was the its slight failure to meet with the native Manchunian's high expectations, which to a Londoneer seems like paradise- you certainly don't get a service that has transport regularly every 6 minutes in London! I agree of course that there is room for improvement regarding the metrolink system, but unfortuately this seems to make the government feel that unless something is in the London consituency, anything that isn't working perfectly and cost effectively should be scraped, because it simply is not their problem! Afterall, it's hardpressed to get them to do anything with LONDON transport systems, let alone anyone elses! It is absolutley disgraceful that such a vital lifeline within the Manchester community should even be concidered for removal.

Helen, North Manchester
I was in the process of viewing houses along the new metrolink route, but have now had to rethink my move. I don't drive and work a lot of long evenings. Many nights I have to rely on lifts or taxis to get home because there are no buses to my house from the city centre. The Metrolink would have been my godsend. I actually worked on the Metrolink project and new the routes before they were published. I'm just glad I didn't buy a house after all. I still can't get home though!

fred, cheetham hill
just a small point about joe's comment - Newcastle DOES have a tram system - the Metro is only underground in the city centre. But he's right - it's brilliant and much cheaper than the metrolink. The scrapping of the extension's still a disgrace though - but where does the government live, work and play? You think they give a stuff about the north where most of the seats are a shoo in for the Labour party. They don't give a damn about us! Up the revolution!

John Mosley Manchester
Darling is only the latest in a long line of failed Labour transport ministers, which began with Prescott in 1997. His decision is a sad reflection of Labour's lasting inability to develop a long term public transport strategy. Government actions appear to be driven primarily by the short term electoral need to keep down public expenditure and by its failure to control the excessive costs which the private sector demands for the development of transport infrastructure projects. It also reflects the long standing prejudices in the Department of Transport in favour of roads over rail. I do not think that attacking the London Crossrail scheme is justified since London's transport needs are even more pressing than Manchester's and Crossrail should have been built years ago. Rather, even at the most recently quoted costing, the extensions to Metrolink do not seem expensive especially when set alongside the money already committed and the Government's preparedness to spend huge amounts on road building and "improvement" projects, most of which offer only short term solutions because they will generate higher volumes of traffic. The disastrous conseqences for the region of Darling's action will become fully clear in the in the next ten to twenty years when daily gridlock on the roads will blight the lives of everyone and result in economic paralysis.

Madge, Eccles
I hope everyone who has posted a comment on this site will be voting these cowboys out at the next election?

Richard Allen, Letchworth, Herts
As a Londoner (who has also lived in Manchester and Newcastle before moving to Hertfordshire), I feel no joy whatsoever at the news that Metrolink Phase 3 has been abandoned, although there was not one word about it in the national media. Metrolink is an excellent system and should be extended. I can assure everyone in Manchester that no-one in London really believes that Crossrail will ever happen; it has been talked about for fifteen years - during which time Manchester designed and built Metrolink phases 1 and 2! We all expect Crossrail to be dumped after the next election. No, the real issue is very simple. Cars make money for the government (car tax, fuel duty etc) but buses, trams and trains cost the government money. So of course they don't want us not to drive! And if we persist in wanting to use trains etc, then we get what we deserve! Cynical? Yes. Realistic? Yes, sadly. Optimistic? No.

Vikki, Manchester
It would be a good idea to go the GMPTE website and fill in a form showing your support for the system if you feel that strongly about it.

Ste Fielding, Whitefielding(living in Sydney)
Disgraceful, appalling and totally predicable decision by London-centric UK. Was in Manchester a few months ago and the roads are a nightmare. Just what are the government thinking. Massive spending to make up for 50 years of underfunding by all govenments is still taking its toll. The Bury to Manchester line was going to scrapped! Remember? However, it seems that in all city areas no matter where you go, the car is still king like it is in Sydney, but large investment is underway on the trains and motorway network here but a new proposed line has been suspended.Why? Lack of money of course. The UK government just can't afford it and with an election looming, London politics instead of future-proofing rail investment country wide is now the priority. Yes, I'm sure we'd be able to afford it if it wasn't for Iraq?

Derek Bates, Middleton
It is a fact that fast, clean and cheap transport breathes life into run-down areas and helps regeneration. This is what the Metrolink would have done in North and East Manchester. Granted, the Metrolink is not the cheapest form of transport, but nevertheless it would have speeded up the regeneration of these areas. I for one will certainly not be voting for Labour at the next General Election, along with thousands of other people no doubt - who will probably vote Lib-Dem.

Craig Dawes, Stockport
I used to live in Timperley and the Metro was brilliant, Altrincham, Manchester and Bury within 30 mins, what more do you want. Then Metro try to expand to include other areas and the Government who, if you ask me, are out of touch outside London, block the plans due to high costs. London have an underground and now they are looking at a similar scheme, WHY !!!!????? stick with your underground and give us money for our transport system. You want cars off the road, give us a decent public transport system. If I were to give us my car it would take me 2 hours, long waits and 3 buses to get to work, it would definately cost me more in money, stress, time, and loss of time with my wife and family. Tony Blair, there is life outside London, open your eyes, give the rest of the country a chance, not just you and London.

Rusty, Chorlton
I've lived in Manchester now for just under 2 years, and have loved the place since I got here. I really think that this move is going to cause a lot of hassle for people and will DEFINITELY cause grief for Labour. I'm sorry to say that this is the final straw for me and Mr. Blair - its the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. I would hope that someone in the Government can overthrow this decision! Sort it out Blair before you lose even more votes! Big up to Devin - you're spot on mate.

tony burnage
this a typical short sighted govt response and highlights the control of policy in the hands of vote catching politicos. this scheme was for the long term vibrancy for the city and new east manchester in particular creating new live/work areas. a major let down for a much wanted scheme probably money will now be shoring up costs of an unwanted war. teflon wears eventually

Malcolm Gilks, Timperley
A discraceful decision. Investment in public transport is investment in the future in anyones language. Soon only the rich will be able to travel whilst everyone else - due to the total shambles of public transport - has to walk or cycle while breathing in their fumes. But what is even more appalling is the lack of outcry from our local MP's on this issue when they are supposed to be our representatives. If car travel is to remain the main form of transport then a fairer way of regulating car usage should be found rather than pricing people off the roads - after all disabled people who need their own transport more than most are often amongst the lower earners.

Bryan Morris, Princess Street, Manchester
I have no confidence in a city council who's costing of the Metrolink Project has been characterised by wishful thinking and incompetence. I call on Council Leader Richard Leese to resign.

charles, alderley edge
Perhaps this announcement was originally planned to seduce us into voting for a regional assembly. Unfortunately, they couldn't organise that either! I understand they've had to cancel the trip round the brewery as well!

Gareth Owen, Manchester
Nice one Labour, thats another voter whose just gone to the Lib Dems.

Gerard Manchester
The Transport Secretary's decision is right, why should that amount of money be spent on a transport system that is not necessary at all. People can get to all locations using buses without spending that outragious amount of money. People must have money to burn, that money can be spent on hospitals instead. People are making too much fuss over a system that breaks down, is over crowded at peak times and is not necessary in the first place. Far better to put more buses on than a system that should never have been built in the first place.

KARL PRESTWICH
I THINK THE SERVICE OF THE METROLINK IS UTTERLY POOR USE IT EVERYDAY AN THERES ALWAYS DELAYS PROBLEMS WITH THE TICKET MACHINES CUSTOMER SERVICE IS NO GOOD THEY NEVER KNOW WOTS GOING ON AND THE INSPECTORS NEVER HAVE A CLUE WHAT TO DO. THE ONLY REASON WHY I USE IT IS TO GET TO WORK ITS REALLY EXPENSIVE WAY TO GET THERE. AND THE EXTENSION WAS ALL A PILE OF B******T I NEW THIS 2 YEARS AGO

Chris Stockport
A ridiculously short-sighted decision; a slap in the face for Manchester from the Labour government at a time when they are encuraging £10 billion for London CrossRail.

Peter (Stockport)
Outrageous. This is the government which wants to promote public transport?

John Murray, Chester UK
As a regular business visitor, I use Metrolink frequently. I think it is great, apart from the lack of integrated ticketing. I think it would be great to see the system expanded and fully support it. However the cost increase is unjustified and down to greedy contractors. We have built a number of tram systems in this country now, so we ought to know what the costs are, even allowing for inflation.

Ian Roberts
Joe from Crumpsall should be aware that Newcastle's Metro system, did not open until 11th August 1980.

John Comerford
The transport secretary Alsitair Darling should be forced to resign. It has let the north west down. Why to pay for the widening of the M6 and also the higher than expected cost of Highways Agency Traffic Officer who are intended to replace the police on our motorways.

Simon (Manchester)
The bare faced cheek of spending over £200million of taxpayers money on a £500million scheme and then just pulling out!! It really beggars belief! £200million completeley wasted! I really think that Labour have shot themselves in the foot on this one. Cetainly if that had happened on a private scheme a lot of people would be out of a job!! Manchester has always been a Labour stronghold, one they can always bank on! Bank on it no longer Mr Blair because your darling Mr darling has really annoyed the whole of Manchester!!

James, Didsbury
A very poor, short term decision made with little or thought for the need for improved public transport.

Mark , sale
fair comment joe... but the reason for the continual break downs is that the present trams are over worked... the orginal requirement for the alt/bury line was 36 trams but they were told govt funding was only available for 26... even in the 80's metrolink was being screwed.

Steven, Ashton-u-Lyne
I recently moved back to my home town of Ashton after 3 years in London. I was disappointed to hear that they have scrapped the plans. Ashton has been under-going a lot of renewal projects since the final link of the M60 finished, and now projects have started to bring in businesses to Ashton. But I think this will affect business who want's to move to Ashton now, given that the Metrolink plan has been scrapped. I just feel sorry for those poor people who had to move house during the renewal project. Yes, London is the capital, but Mr. Blair and his gang must realise that the world does not always revolve around London.

Adam, Droylsden
In his tenure as Transport Secretary John Prescott championed the Metrolink and promised that the extensions would be built. After Mr Darlings ludicrous plans to charge Car Drivers by the mile and thus force them onto an ever more non-existant Public Transport system, surely he and his advisors should be stripped of their positions in the next cabinet re-shuffle. How come other countries around the world seem to build infrastructure at a reasonable if not reletively cheap cost, and get the job done whereas the UK seems to produce lethargic and exorbitant projects. After the success we made of the Commonwealth Games, and reinvention of manchester as a major City, Im disappointed at the shabby treatment we have recieved in a Labour heartland by a Labour Government. I would urge people to find out as much as they can about the Regional Government debate and make an informed vote when the time comes, if its just to secure funds for the North West and its projects rather than the South east getting the Lions Share. London 2012? National Stadium at Wembley? £5bn Investment in Crossrail. Perhaps The Guardian was right in its article that London is becoming an all powerful state at the expense of other cities in the UK.

Chris, Sheffield
Well, I come from the other side of the pennines! Sheffield has had a similar problem to Manchester. Extensions were planned to Rotherham but residents 'didn't want it'. I don;t see why the Manchester tram routes should'nt be extended. After all, these light rail systems cost lots of money so we should get the most out of them!

chris crumpsall
the metro-link cannot get its act together as it is. bigger--- more failures, cancellation, and general rubbish. whenthey can keep the services they have running properly then let them expand not before.

Devin, New Zealand(X-Manchester)
I cant believe this story. This is one of the reasons why I left Manchester. I still love Manchester and still believe that it is the best city in England, but I cant stand the hypocrisy. I hate the way that London always wins, and that London is always in the news. What Manchester and the north needs is its own government, to spend its own money where it sees fit. We have always been the backbone of England, working our lives away while southerners gorge themselves on the fat of the land. Rise up Manchester and fight for your rights.

Simon, Stockport
An absolute disgrace. Ashamed to say I voted labour in the last election. Never again. I hope people vote with their feet and let the Labour party know what we think of this decision.

Richard, Peterborough
I am a independant consultant who worked on one of the earlier unsuccessful tenders for the design, build and operate contract for the Manchester Metrolink. The benefits of the scheme in transport terms are very clear and provide the back-bone of wider transport planning, no just in Greater Manchester but at a North West regional level. The wider benefits (not least in terms of economic and social regeneration) are largely imeasurable. Those comments already submitted regarding the need for improvements to the existing Metrolink network before it is extended, you would perhaps be interested to know that upgrading and increasing capacity of the existing network was one of the core requirements of all bidders in the tendering process. This decision is an absolute discrace, as are the similar decisions for the other proposed schemes such as those in Leeds and Portsmouth. This Government appears to be very good at making policies and strategies, and even to pledging that it will provide funding, but when it actually comes to handing over the finances it consistantly decides that the scheme is no longer up to date and no longer value for money - perhaps if it would pull its finger out and make swifter decisions on funding submissions from local authorities and passenger transport authorities then such schemes could be implemented sooner, and before costs begin to increase exponentially. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my technical advice, free of charge, to any campaign set up to challenge this stupendous decision.

ann altrincham
Perhaps the Government should publish the actual cost for the planning of Metrolink; would John Prescott care to tell us how much tax payers' money has been wasted on this futile exercise? Was John Prescott aware that there was any possibility that this project would not go ahead. It was assumed that the inflated costs were taken into consideration at the time of planning

aLUsh, Chorlton
Come on everyone! what's the surprise? Did you really expect anything else from this "jam-tomorrow" Blair Autocracy? Its always been about promises of money that "will be made available" at some future date. Well, that date finally arrived.......and where's the money? ... London!!

Percy Chorlton
Bad decision..yes..BUT GET REAL. I have imagined the massive regeneration of East Manchester., commonwealth Games, booming city centre, city schools rebuilt and attainment increasing, new hospitals, and massive leap in tourism etc etc under Labour in Manchester over the last 7 years? Compare that to life under Thatcher (unemployment, squalor, struggling city centre) or those say-anything-cos-we-have-no-policies Lib Dems. I'm not happy with things this Government has done but the good far outweighs the bad and having lived through the 80s and early 90s., I know which side my bread is buttered.

Arlene McCarthy MEP, Manchester
The decision is a major blow. Metrolink has been one of our European funding success stories here in Manchester. It is the centre pin of our regeneration strategy and the expansion was a key part of the future regeneration of North and East Manchester, Rochdale, Oldham, Droylsden, Audenshaw and Ashton. Alistair Darlings decision threatens to put all that at risk. How can the scheme be a waste of taxpayers money when it fits in with all of our sustainability objectives. By the time phase 3 is completed it is estimated that Metrolink will be saving 5.5 million car journeys, just think how many less emissions we will have to breath in the City as a result. I will be urging Alistair Darling and indeed the Prime Minister to reconsider this decision. We are determined to make the Metrolink project a success and continue with it.

David W Ellis
Just one word about this decision "Unbelievable"

jane - Bolton
looking back every government in power has only ever looked at the forseeable future, they go on at the general public how important it is to invest for the future, they need to practice what they preach and invest our money where we want it. Public transport, is a priority for oue future, we are lagging behind other European countries with public transport, no wonder we can not recruit essential workers, they can not get to work.

joe, north manchester
a brilliant decision i think...the tram system at the moment is an absolute sham and does not deserve any more money for extensions until serco get their act together and work hard to provide an effecient, clean and reliable service....why should they get our money to fund a service they time and again fail to provide?....

Clare - Ashton-under-Lyne
I think it is absolutly appauling that the plan for the link to AShton hasd been scrapped, many people have had to move homes when the land was bought up for the lines and I really feel for these people. This also dashes hopes for an influx of new business and shoppers - absolutly disgusting.

Diane, Central Manchester
The roads can't cope with the number of cars using them as the government well knows. With a fast and frequent metrolink from Oldham to Manchester, as well as a tram linking Ashton and the Sporting arena areas the North and East side of Manchester would have got the continued boost to the economy and health of the areas. This government should be ashamed of itself for not aiming to work with the council to resolve the increases in costings.

Chris, Didsbury
Appalling decision. The projected costs have gone up, but what would you expect when something has been in planning for so many years? I imagine that the government's "logic" is that by not spending £500m or so on a decent public transport system for Manchester, they can keep us queueing in traffic for years to come, providing them with 60p+ in tax per litre of unleaded. Idiotic.

Terry, Eccles
We have a superb service from Eccles to the existing destinations on the line. We were all looking forward to the new extensions but now are dejected. I have been a labour voter all my working life and now, regretably, have to look elsewhere to cast my vote.

tracy, north manchester
Appalled - wonder where the money for the M6 extension is coming from! We are asked to use public transport but the facility if replaced with a road! No further comment required

Andy, Leigh
Where I live, there are only infrequent buses or using your own car as a mode of transport for getting into Manchester. This adds to the already untolerable congestion of the A580. Trams and trains are the only solution to getting people off the roads.

Dan Abbott, Manchester
Just another example of central government ripping Manchester off. Strange how London's plans haven't been derailed. Obviously the Iraq war cost this government more than it's willing to admit

A>Burns, Prestwich, Manchester
Obviously lots of passion, emotion and anger on here, thanks to this gutless decision. Rather than just rant away on the net, people should prssurizing their local MPS, councillors, supporting any campaigns for the Met.Doing what ever part is possible for this struggle. For I know I will. Mancunians have a stark course between fighting for a better future,(starting with the Met and a regional government), or passively accepting a second rate city, governed by the elitist imperial London bosses.

Mr B in Baguley
What a joke this government has become. Anyone who can take away £500 million in funding for a project that was so close to being built and then give £10 billion to an un-proven scheme that is in it’s infancy must be mad. And to do it on the same day, completely crazy. As someone who’s never voted (I’m in my late 20’s) as I think all politicians are as bad as one another I will be taking the time to vote for whichever party decides to back this proven Metrolink scheme in the General Elections. I’d prefer a PM that looks and acts like a headmaster or a heavy drinking Scot to someone without a backbone.

Ben, Pendlebury
I can't believe the amount of money that has already been spent. People have been moved out of homes and had them demolished, schools have been changed, a church is being moved, tunnels have already been bored even at Manchester Airport, the Tram station is ready to go!!! We'll be a worldwide laughing stock, with bit of a tram system here and there. Furthermore, I was annoyed by the way the BBC News at 6 reported gleefully about the London Crossrail, but said diddlysquat about the 3 tram systems being scrapped. The same's happened in Leeds, where much of the moving, destruction of homes, and re routing of roads etc. has already taken place. What a waste of public money - at least we was going to have something at the end of it. Now we're not!

Richard Parker - Newhey
This is a disastrous decision. The government talk about improving infrastructure and getting cars off the roads with an integrated transport system. They talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Why steal the money from the north to fund transport for the London Olympic bid? I am a keen sports fan but I cannot support any bid, which will take our transport links from us. The traffic into Manchester from Oldham is dreadful. I commute to Leeds daily and it is quicker at rush hour to travel the 31 miles to my office than to travel 14 miles into Manchester. We NEED THIS LINK!!!!!

Dennis Gale Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
I am really disappointed with the decision to scrap the extended links. Public transportation in Malaysia is appalling but when the Government decides to do an infrastructure project they do it to promote their countries image to the world. Manchester could have the best but like most things nothing gets done quickly enough. Prime example no National Football Stadium for so many years. No wonder people cannot wait to leave!

Andy, Timperley
What a joke! We need this in Manchester as the roads are getting busier all the time. Vote Labour out! they're a bunch of amateurs!!

Damian, Woodford
I cant believe it, I really cant believe it. It seemed like only yesterday the go-ahead was given to widen the M25 around Heathrow and the M6 widening was scrapped. Oh well, at least we were going to get something back with the Metro extension I though. Bit of a blow to find out now that a new proposal to ease congestion on the M6 between Birmingham and Manchester requires a toll road and Manchester isn’t worthy of its Metro extension. Hope that this is reflected in the ballot box. Maybe someone should start a North Nationalist Party. Global warming cant come fast enough, at least this has given it a boost and hopefully it will only be 45 and not 50 years before most of Westminster and central London are underwater!

Mike Sale
Labour would rather us use the car to go in and out Manchester with the addition of maybe a congestion charge in the future to add the £37Bn plus they already take from the motorist in tax. This would have helped for a strong future in Manchester and one that would not rely on the car.... I think its time for a new party in government.

rob Manchester
The government is taking voters in Manchester for granted. they think it's safe territory, wrong! I can see this being a major issue at the next election. It's not the fact they canceled the extension but that fact they then announced more spending in London!

David, Hale
Spiralling costs? I wonder if costs would ever stop the London Underground line from being extended to Heathrow's new Terminal 5? Of course not. This is, yet again, an outrageous decision that wouldn't have been taken had it affected the Capital.

leon: coventry
Cant even comment on how disgusted I am. Manchester stand up for yourselves this is one big joke on your behalf. You pay jus as much Tax and it only benefits people in the south.... bizarre

snaz
metrolink needs to extend in order to make travelling more convenient and accessible

Clive Wheeler Manchester
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see, at a later date and in the run up to the next general election, a cabinet re-shuffle and the new transport minister somehow finding the necessary funding for the metrolink extension to take place. Will everyone then be so against Labour? The positive publicity it will generate up here in the North West... better than a party political broadcast!

NOEL MANCHESTER
LABOUR HAS LET US DOWN AGAN

Mark, Glossop
Alistair Darling? Ernest Marples more like. Labour's transport policy seems to be all stick and no carrot.

Dave Jones, Stretford
I'm simply can't believe this. As a driver, I would love to use public transport if we had such a thing in this country. How on earth can a government which is trying to get people back onto public transport possibly defend this decision? Anyone have Alistair Darlings phone number?

Peter, Whitefield
I am quite disgusted at the hypocrisy and double standads of the government, who praise the Metrolink system at one time, agree to funding , wait for all the disruption caused from initial works, and then scrap it. This is a typical example of "our" government's commitment to the people of Manchester and alternative public transport systems. Perhaps Mr Darling needs the space already cleared for metrloink works to makeway for Phase 3 of the M6 Toll...

Sarah, altrincham
What a dissapointment. The Met plays a very important part in manchesters economy, opening windows for e,ployement etc to those people in areas hard to reach. The government need to get there prioities right, maybe funding the met rather than the silly cow festival!

Terry Denton
No surprise, Governments of all shades think the UK only exists within the M25 motorway. I despair the fact that my taxes subsidise the the almighty London, which by the way did NOT have their buses privatised, and already have the tube system.

Lee, Longsight
I Can not understand this government, they say they believe in Public Transport and want to get people out of their cars, then they turn around and stop the extention to Manchester's successful Metrolink. All to save £500 million, they will have to build this scheme eventually when Manchester is at total gridlock, by then it may cost £10 BILLION, (WHAT!!!!) like Cross Rail! Insain!

Simon, Heaton Moor
I am outraged at this decision - it show a lack of will to think about areas outside the south-east. I will be more than willing to be involved in any campaign to reverse this decision!

Dave Bradley, St Annes Square
We are the low life who exist North of Watford. We have no importance at all. Blair & Brown are spending billions on a pointless war, billions keeping an army in Germany for no strategic reason whatsoever, billions net transfer to the EU. We in the north are a worthless, I don't feel British anymore after this and I hate the Government and the Labour Party.

uncle dave
Still at least we know how they want to make theiur money,no alternativce on public transport and a congestion charge. Dont think i will vote labour again

Colin, Ashton Under Lyne
Sadly it would appear that awarding hospital consultants pay rises and offering "choice" in education is a better vote winner than financing a provincial city a public transport system. If we want it, we'd better start voting!!

Michael, Bolton (Living in London)
Absolutely Gutted!!

lee Rickard Fairfield Manchester
This government is a fruad. We are one of the few citys that has successfully run a tram system. We are a city large enough to need a tram system. There have been failures in sheffield and newcastle but manchester system is economically viable and needed for our large conurbation to survive and grow. If the government wont give us the money , lets have a public subscription for it , in that way we'll own our own tram system and determine its future and its usage

Mike, Denton
The decision to scrap the extension is ridiculous. Public transport is hard enough to use on my journey to altrincham, having the Metrolink would have made ita lot easier, also lots of homes have been sold and demolished and for what, Nothing !

Jane Connor, Irlam
I can't believe Alistair Darling had the gall to stand up in Parliament and cancel plans as being too expensive after the Milennium Dome and other London fiascos. The only reason London is up for the Olympic bid is because of the success of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Metrolink is a brilliant service, you only have to try and squeeze on a tram on the Altrincham line in the morning to see what a success it is!

Jim Catterall Bolton
Why do our elected MP's not fight our corner for the north west traffic easing using the metro link expansion?

Jacky Evans, Failsworth
I am appalled at the Government's decision to withdraw funding for the extension of metrolink lines in Manchester. What on earth is going down here? We are urged (indeed penalised heavily when we do drive into Manchester and park)to use public transport - the buses are in disarray, metrolink was the only hope of getting Manchester back on track. A dodo before its inception. We will be driven (by car) to out of town shopping centres - free parking and non of the hassle. Where will that leave our lovely city shopping centre? Somebody with a good deal of common sense needs to re-think the city seriously from the point of view of the shopper by car - what other option have we?

David, Chorlton
Cashing in on Manchester's successful Commonwealth Games to launch its (not our) Olympic bid tuned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. Acybical decision based purely on pulling money back to the 'capital'.The southern media bias will guarantee more funds draining away to the white elephant of the Olympic bid. Investment and regeneration outside of London obviously means nothing to kneejerk Westminster politicians.

Neil, Manchester
Heared on the radio whilst driving home from work tonight that there was road delays in Oldham due to the construction of a metro station ! and this government wants "Value". They should build a museum on this station dedicated to this government stupidity

tom williams oldham
i think it is irresponsible of the government to pull the plug on the next stage of the metrolink because of the economic effect . also that £200 million has already been spent of public money in cpo,s and other projects in preparation for the metrolink coming.

A Person, Manchester
I'm fed up of this government suggesting that we stop using our cars and then providing no solution. This extension has been promised for years and then they just take it away.

Ian Greenwood, Collyhurst
Nothing this government now does surprises me (I say this as a lifelong Labour voter). Comparison of Darlings statement with the words of Blair and Prescott in March 2000 about the pivotal role that that the metro played indicates what a bunch of hypocrites these people are. To announce the curtailment of the Manchester plan at the same time as outlining a £10B plan to extend rail links in London is breathtaking arrogance and a kick in the teeth to not just Manchester but the north of England.Lets hope the voters of Geater Manchester respond in the appropriate way at the next General Election.For me this is the last straw - I wont be voting Labour thats for sure.

mr faz manchester
This has really discrased me.What has happened to our great Britain,once we were part of a country to be proud of,now we have become a laughing stock, our government cant even make their mind up on transport polocies.I agree with the man from rochdale we should start a website and put forward to the government the views of the northwest.

Neil Williams, Milton Keynes (formerly Manchester)
Good for the people of Oldham, who get to keep their heavy rail service. The best solution to this line would be traditional, heavy-rail electrification, not slow trams with insufficient capacity. Re-regulate the bus service and there'll be no need for the other lines with street running, either - after all, the Eccles line is slower than the bus and not much faster than walking...

Paul, Audenshaw
I am bitterly disappointed with the government’s decision to abandon the metrolink extensions. Millions of pounds has already been spent on the schemes, from building new structures to clearing areas of housing to make way for the new alignment. Also investors have put a lot of thought into regeneration plans incorporating the boost that the metrolink extension would bring. Currently extensive regenerations schemes including the new North Manchester Business Park in Moston/Newton Heath have gone ahead with the intention of incorporating the metrolink and benefiting from the ideal mode of transport to and from the business park. This scheme was also a way of alleviating the chaos that is currently on the roads of the northwest. Unless something is done soon then the problem is only going to spiral further out of control. Sadly the government aren’t interested in the millions of pounds they have wasted as they deal with billions.

Natalie Failsworth
I think that the goverment should start thinking about the people whos lives they are ruining and stop thinking about them selves for a change and the bank balance, they should think about the people that are struggling to cope even with out the amount of tax we pay, we pay it for a reason and that reason is not flash cars and big houses for the people who work for the government the people who sit on theirs bums all day every day while we work for their pay packet.

Richard, Chorlton
Fantastic! Not content with taxing the motorist off the road and telling us to use public transport which appallingly unreliable. Now they pull the plug on the only slight glimmer of hope we have ever had of easing Manchester's bursting congestion problems. Oh, Sorry I forgot, we're not from London, so we're not important - plus the fact there's far more important things for the government to be spending our cash on like Wars and things. Thanks again Mr Blair!

Paul Johnson, Manchester
Its another bit of labour spin to get votes in the south! Cut back public transport investment outside london and then on the same day announce £5bn of investment on crossrail in London. Well if that is the game that Labout want to play then everyone outside london should stop voting for them in protest!

Carl, Bournemouth (ex pat Mancunian
What a shambles but how typical of a Government and a Transport Minister who have no idea how public transport should work and who make disingenuous statements about their objectives and priorities. The problem with trams is that schemes take longer than the life of a parliament to get off the ground. All our politicians are interested in is quick fixes that they hope will make them look good at the next general election. Darling has been making noises for weeks about the costs of the scheme so Tuesday’s announcement will not surprise anyone. What he fails to point out is that by far and away the greatest cause of the high costs is the stupid method of procurement that requires a “Design, Build, Operate and Maintain” contract. This just encourages bidders to load the front end costs with the costs of unquantifiable future risks. When Darling comments on the relatively low cost of providing tram schemes on the continent he fails to point out that the costs he is comparing are just for building the installations and providing the rolling stock. This Government has consistently failed us on transport policy generally and now that they are staring into the abyss they are panicking. If they want to reduce congestion then the only way is to offer high quality, reliable, efficient and fully coordinated public transport with through ticketing. That means railways, trams where appropriate (Manchester definitely) and buses and trolleybuses. This is not rocket science; you only have to look across the water to France, Belgium Holland and Germany to see how it can be done. Unfortunately with a cretin like Darling in charge, hell freezing over is more likely.

Andrew: Manchester
What an utter disgrace. The sooner we have control at a regional level for our own transport and local regenration needs the better. But we can't even have a say on that because the government has just postponed the referendum set for the North West Regional Assembly in November pending a report into postal voting (another farce!). It is about time this government started representing ALL people in this country regardless of region or vote. Bring on proportional voting and electoral reform I say. If Victorian Manchester rasied most of the money for the Ship Canal by public subscription and shares its high time we had the change to take control of our own needs where London fails to provide! A Republic of Mancunia seems ever more sensible to me.

Andi, Altrincham
It's an appalling decision once again proving the North / South divide (this comes from someone born in the South!). Also, seeing the amount of people that are appalled by this decision I wonder why this country is so apathetic when it comes to voting. Can't our local MPs appeal against the decision or will it now be pushed to the back benches. Why don't we all actually do something proactive and send letters to our MPs?

Paul, Oldham
As always, the Government does not care what happens outside the M25! Millions already spent will now go to waste and it will deter investment in the areas what need it most!

Anthony Browne Colwyn Bay
EIGHT BILLION for London east west cross rail...Oui. HALF a million for a city with population of Scotland...Non!

John Rohdale
A complete betrayal. How can the government expect support for the proposed London olympic games from the people of the north west when it treats people like this.

Mike Roscoe Stockport
It does seem strange when vast sums were spent on the dome and more on the Scottish parliament building that Manchester cannot have £500M to reduce congestion and car use.

Lianne, Manchester
After reading all these posts I have a proposal. We, the people of Greater Manchester (and any surrounding areas in support), should form our own country. We could be like Vatican City (without the mass religion obviously). The government clearly have no idea that we're here anyway (except when collecting and spending our taxes in the south) so what difference would it make? Forgot a regional parliament! We need our own PM!!!!! P.S, for those in parliament. North is not a word that is simply a prefix for the word London

Keith, Ancoats
I'm not sure the south has benefitted from this at the North's expense. Yes, the government has given the go-ahead to Crossrail but say they have "issues" with its funding. Could these be the same issues that led to the cancellation of Manchester's Metrolink extension, and new schemes proposed and worked on in Leeds and Portsmouth too? I think Manchester should now approach Stagecoach, who for all their faults, took over and developed an ailing tram system in Sheffield, which today is the largest tram network in the UK and considerably superior to Metrolink. I can't remember hearing about dramatically increasing costs happening there.

Bernard from Rochdale living in Frankfurt
What can I say? Here there are Trams all over and cost is never the issue. Is it needed is the question and will reduced road traffic?

Gladys, Tameside
I'm blind, registered disabled. Now we disabled folk won't be able to go out and about. We'll have to stay in doors. We were really looking forward to getting some freedom, some independance, some hope. Now it's all been dashed. Please reconsider this debilitating decision. Thank you Mr. Darling.

Clive, Stockport
I moved to Manchester 10 years ago and was impressed with the wonderful Metro system. In the time it has taken manchester to plan and then shelve the next phase of the system, Nottingham has built a new metro. Besides blaming the goverment who have proved their worth at wasting our money maybe the people of manchester should also look at their own councils who take 10 years to plan the next phase no wonder its become too expensive!

Chris Stockport
Seems that lots of people share my anger at this slap in the face by Labour and the London based government. Like the city council we should be on the streets demonstrating. There needs to be a visible demonstration of the strong feeling throughout Manchester.

Simon Borroughs
An appalling decision! Mr Darling has now proved the North South divide is alive and well. How can the Government justify this desicion? Parts of Ashton and Droylsden are just waiting for the tracks to go down, what happens now? Do we say "oh well never mind" or does Manchester fight this? Come on Manchester lets show these idiots that we will not be walked on!

Martin, Manchester
This latest debacle just proves once and for all what a few of us more hardened cynics knew all along for the past 20 years - that London is the only place that gets what it needs and the rest of the country (such as Birmingham, Leeds, and Liverpool as well as Manchester) can go whistle. Alistair Darling is merely the latest in a long line of inept so-called "transport ministers" whose sole criteria to being in office is to be as blinkered, short-sighted and cluelessly contradictory as possible on all fronts. They really do not have the slightest idea or insight on creating an integrated transport network for Britain so they choose to disguise their appalling shortcomings by resorting to laughably spurious "ten year plans" that never last ten weeks let alone months before - yes, you guessed - another U-turn comes along and everything is scrapped because of the same old excuse of "finances". Take it from me, no Government now or in the future will EVER be capable of delivering the comprehensive public transport - or indeed, road - network improvements that this country has been crying out for..... although of course, London will always get priority first. It's as simple as that.

Andy, Sydney, Australia
Since the buses were privatised (not in London of course!), there's chaos on busy routes such as Wilmslow road and a serious lack of buses on less profitable routes such as those that go to Wythenshawe! Manchester had a great tram system once, but now in the twenty first century, we can't even build trams that are badly needed for Manchester's economy!

Clive Roberts, Irlam
Just what I would would expect from London based politicians and what happened to the commitment to improve public transport?. Regional Assembly looks more attractive than ever.

Daniel, Wythenshawe
I noticed several comments about never voting Labour. I am not representing labour, but it should be noted that the Manchester City Council is traditional, socialist Labour and nothing like Blair's thatcherite government. Vote Labour in the local elections, but not in the General. Our City council is against Blair, just remember that. Also, notice how this has only been announced after the local elections?

melvyn oldham
more money for LONDON and less money for MANCHESTER O what a surprise I did not expect that one.. LONDON must be bidding for something... O wait they are....

Marc, Rochdale
This decision was a long time coming but was expected. Having spent many years to the study of local transport, the extension of the Metrolink network to Rochdale, Oldham and Ashton was always going to be doubtful. The costs involved have esculated since the original proposal a decade ago. I feel the Local Authorities have been living in a dream world since then. The Government wasn't going to take out a savings account to fund the project, just like no private companies would foot the bill! GMPTE should concentrate on getting the buses to show up in these areas, on time!

Dave, Manchester
This is a major blunder on the part of this government. For all the hot air that gets blown from the south towards us northerners - by birth or migration - many people will be thinking twice about voting Labour again. The government probably feel quite secure in Greater Manchester being a Labour stronghold, but to scrap plans which have already relocated homes, schools and businesses; plans which have offered a solution to the congestion on the roads; plans which could have solved the withering number of parking places in the city may finally prompt many voters to turn elsewhere. Darling, be a dear and get your policies right!!

Andy in Shaw
Hey - this is fantastic news. We can now keep our existing train service - it's not perfect but it is miles better than the poxy trams. I think Users of the Oldham/Shaw/Rochdale line have had a lucky escape. This is typical manchester - very good at trying to spend someone else's money.

Jeff Tameside
Does Alistair Darling ever look or consult with local authorities to see what commitment they have already put into Metrolink extention or aready spent before he or his department make these crackpot decissions. I can only think that again London comes first, with more than proberly a failed olympic bid & a cross city rail link that by the time it is completed, will proberly cost 5 times it present estimate. Where is this goverments commitment to public transport, when the present metrolink has proved that it can attract passengers & cut down on the use of cars.

seen it all, manchester
As usual Bliar and his cronies have shafted the tax payers of this region. No doubt Jaguar Jonnie with his subsidised housing will soon be round to give some poor beggar a good thumping again. Remember Trafford, ditch the scum, Vote for the Conservatives for good management

NJ, Astley nr Leigh
The scrapping of teh metrolink is an absolute discrace. The system needs to be introduced as the government was never going to put money into improving other forms of transport, in particular buses. The introduction of phase 3 could easily have been funded by the introduction of Darling´s mass road tolling due to be introduced within a decade. As usual money goes to London, and not to areas who really need it, like Manchester and also Blackpool´s sreaking tram system. Instead it goes to some daft trans-London rail route. Isn´t that what the Central line on the underground does, hence the name?? Darling has been a bad influence from the start, and should go - put somebody who knows what they´re doing in charge - as long as it isn´t anti-public transport Labour

wendy, knutsford
I wish someone would organise a demo or some way to show this wilful government how ordinary people feel about scrapping the extra tram system, especially the link to the airport. Common sense is what is needed. If WE can see that trams make sense why can't our so called leaders wok it out too?

denis- stalybridge
use your vote to tell them what you think

Supporter of an Independent North
Are you really that surprised? £750 million for wembley stadium, a bending of the tender rules to allow wembley (a private company) to bid in order that the manchester bid failed, £1 billion on the millennium dome, £2.4 billion to host the olympics, and finally £10 billion on a cross rail scheme. Yet again the interests of the north are ignored. The decision to cut the metro link expansion seems so illogical it defies belief. It is said that the project is over budget – so lets compare it to the jubilee line extension - which was "primarily built to regenerate the areas it serves, some of which are the most deprived within London" - the cost - £2.4 billion for ten miles of track – the project - over budget and over 12 months late. This is just another example of letting the north rot. This issue must be addressed – do not lie down and let this happen once again.

Jon, Leeds
Well i would just like to point out that it aint just Manchester thats lost its funding to London, on the same day, Leeds lost its funding for the Supertram system the city badly needs. North South divide reducing?? i think not.

Shaun Tinsley, Hayfield.
Darling must go. London get £5,000,000,000. Manchester nowt.

Anne
I think it's a diabolical decision and have emailed our beloved leader Tony to tell him - not that I expect it will do much good. Will also be writing to Keith Bradley.

Rob, North of Watford
The only way to overturn a decision like this, is to hit the MP's where it hurts. Give you Labour MP a good shoeing in the ballot box when the election is called. As for those who say roll on a regional assembly, that's what Prescott and Blair want, so we as Mancunians should vote against it in protest.

Vicky, Melbourne
In Melbourne the tram network is excellent and it means that I do not need to have a car. It is very disappointing that the Manchester Metrolink extension has been scrapped and it makes me less likely to want to move back to Didsbury.

Dave Lee, Prestwich
How will this decision affect the new science/business park being built at this moment in North East Manchester? Work has been carried out on the Victoria to Oldham line in preparation for the transfer to the Tram system, including a planned travel interchange for the science park. Perhaps if we had had the extension to Sportscity when we were preparing for the Commonwealth Games, there wouldn't have been quite so much of an increase in the development costs for all the planned extensions. Alistair Darling & John Prescott should both resign (Oh, hold on though, New Labour ministers don't resign - apart from Claire Short).

Paul Cleworth, Manchester
Why have the costs gone up so much? Is it because we think the Government is a soft touch? Get the costs down and some credibility back or phase the work. Let's get real and deliver.

James H, W Didsbury
Perhaps Mr Darling thinks the trams in Manchester are those colourful old novelty things you see at Blackpool. Maybe the Government thinking is if everyone moves onto public transport there won't be any drivers to pay the congestion charges.

russell, droyslden
Its the goverment flapping again, if they hadnt spent a penny or rellocated hundreds of families and business' i dont think anybody would care as much. But that isnt the case, ive seen beutiful houses and buildings, torn down along with all the memories to go with, people forced out their homes to make way for development. and then to be told that all of that was done for nothing, i dont think it will end here. TOO many people have made TOO many sacrafices. As its our money thats being spent i think we have a right to say where it goes.

Matt, Chorlton
What Alastair Darling has done is like pledging a tenner to comic relief and then spending £50 on a lipstick in Harvey Nicks instead. Greater Manchester Labour MP's should be dusting off thier boxing gloves and marching into Mr. Darling's office ready for a fight because if they don't manage to turn this around, they will be facing a much tougher fight at the next election!

Zoe Woodhead, Rochdale
Just for a change the North loses out to the South. Hasn't London got enough tansport links with the rail network and the underground system. There have been a number of changes already made to the Oldham area to make way for the metrolink. I feel sorry for the people who have relocated their businesses and families as their propeties have been demolished to make the metrolink possible. There are so many things the money wasted on this project could have been used on. The public transport system in the area desperately needs to be improved as the train services to and from Manchester via Oldham leave a lot to be desired at times, after using the metrolink in the City Centre I know it would have been a vast improvement. Unlike the big wigs in this Government we don't have chauffers to take us to the places we need to go and get us there on time.

Al, Manchester
So let me get this…Darling is taking money from other regions so he can give London transport £340m to help aid the Olympic bid. London’s only chance of winning this is due to the success of Manchester’s hosting of the Common Wealth Games. Sounds to me a bit like the old days when the North’s industry made the money and the South spent it.

Chris Manchester
It's a disgrace, the people of Manchester are 200 million down. The one good metro in the UK is scrapped. The existing line saves more than 19 million car journeys. This will damage the local economy. To add to the insult London gets 11 billion. It's a joke !!

Jon, Cheshire
Lot of strong feelings here but what will most of you do about it other than moan? Will you vote Labour next time ? Course you will. Manchester is a Labour stronghold and they know it. They have effectively already 'banked' the Manchester votes for the next election. Conversely there are lots of marginals to be 'bought' in London. QED Vote these hypocrites out otherwise you will never be taken seriously. The really sickening thing is that they say that the Metrolink is too expensive but apparently a disasterous war in Iraq is not too expensive and an ill-fated Olympic Bid is not too expensive either. Politics could be interesting if people cared enough.

John Wigan
Another volte face for this governemen obsessed with rhetoric spin and the south east. Bring on the republic of mancunia

Dan, Fallowfield
Labour, shmaybour Why do the people of "GREAT" Manchester routinely vote for them?, it must stop here! This proposal has had a dramatic effect on house prices and new developments but these can not be shelved now, What happens next probably more stelth taxes to pay for all that red tape they use in Whitehall?

Sarah, Bredbury
I am angry with this decision it is just extending the north south divide. Is it any wonder everyone moves down to the South East when its where the whole country's taxes are spent. The government's spokes person on the news last night claimed that a lot of money had been spent on regeneration projects in Manchester over the last decade. Well yes that may well be, but only because the core was bombed and totally destroyed. If nothing is done to control the growth of the private car the North West may end up in the congested state of London and it will cost an awful lot more to put right. Remember Darling prevention is better than cure.

Judy [Prestwich]
This is a disgraceful decision, but just another nail in Labour's coffin. It seems that in light of recent decisions in Parliament, [ie 104,000 civil servants to go; the Hutton report; cuts to the armed services], the government seem determined to scupper any chance they may have had to win an election. But then again, soem people have a notoriously short memory, & what's the alternative? [When's the referendum?]

Peter, London
I agree with Alex in Oldham. The government should stop wasting money on protecting innocent people who are fleeing in terror from persecution in their homelands and instead spend billions of pounds just so that we can get to work that little bit easier. What a beautiful world we live in.

Chesney (Hyde)
Does Mr Darling realise the upheaval local residents have had to face already for the (now scrapped) extensions? I lived on a row of houses which was demolished to make way for the Ashton Line, as far back as 1995 we took the voluntary purchase on our home to make way for this. We were planning a move anyway but many of our neighbours were elderly widows who were reluctant to move and only did so when they wer compulsory purchased - in effect evicted. After all this upheaval and demolition as been revealed to be uneccessary how do you think they feel?

Councillor Jim McMahon, Failsworth East
This is a real blow and I hope the government see the error of its decision. Oldham, Rochdale and Ashton have all planned their regeneration around the 'coming of the Metrolink' and some have spent millions making way for the track. I feel for all the towns on the outskirts of Manchester and hope we join together to make sure our voices are heard.

Steven Hill - manchester
Very dissapointed, better transport links into the centre of manchester are essential if the city is to continue to prosper.

Bob - Swinton
It's appalling that the spokesperson on TV last night tried to play 1 northern city off against another by saying that to invest in Manchester would mean other Northern cities won't get a look in !! To say that when it is clear the money is just going to London is a disgrace !! I didn't vote Labour and won't be in future.

Warren, Ashton
Typical Labour Party, promise the earth and deliver nothing. As usual, London gets all the benefits from our super-high taxes. I din't vote for them, who did?

Roy
The current government could never fully support our Metrolink. How could they back something incapable of doing U-Turns ?

Steven, Lowton
What a shame no trams going to areas that already have rail links, try traveling to Manchester from Lowton or Leigh? For those who do not know, neither area has a rail link, to anywhere. Never mind North South divide what about East West divide.

Mark London
It is a terrible an unfair decison. Metrolink has consistenly proven itself both during construction (on time and budget)and during operation - being very popular and has removed millions of car trips from the roads - meaning we dont have to spend millions widening roads even further. How the government will square this decision with their commitment to Kyoto treaty and to cut emmissions of green house gases! Metrolink extensions would create new link to various communities - of which many of whom do not have a car and are economically disadvantaged - this was also a terrible decision for the ongoing regeneration of greater Manchester. On the same day as the £10 billion cross rail scheme is announced I cannot see the logic. Yes london desperately needs to sort out its transport. But this should not be at the expense of other cities who have worked hard with less and acheived far more. I hope that regional assemblies will be empowered to overturn this decision if/when they are created!

Terry, Manchester
The system is already unreliable and expensive. The trams are constantly breaking down. Delays and cancellations are so common, there is simply no point in having a timetable. If they can't manage to run the trams on time as it currently stands, how would they cope with the expanded routes. Until the current network is running efficiently, it's ridiculous to even think about expansion. Those living in the outlying areas where the expansion was expected have had a lucky escape.

mark norris.manchester
Yet again this goverment has proved that it doesn't have a clue when it come's to its transport policy .It also proves the southern bias of blair and his cabinet when they can still find money for the olympic bid (which will fail) .Dothey not realise that peoplehave had there homes compulsory purchased and that buisness have been set up in place awaiting the metro link .i will never vote labour again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

NOEL MANCHESTER
VERRY SAD

Ralph, Unsworth
We can spend hundreds of millions of pounds on Iraq, benefitting no one, and not greatly improve public transport here - where are your priorities, Mr. Blair?

Ben, Chorlton
The Metrolink extension is needed, it currently takes 25 minutes to make a 3 mile journey by bus. This is the governments way of encouraging people to use public transport? The new train system in London which which has the go ahead will cost a lot more per head than the Metrolink. I will not be voting for these idiots again.

david - timperley.
Good. They need to sort out the rubbish service they provide now before expanding the service. More trams and lower fares please.

Alex Royton Oldham
Too expensive??? I could well site other things that are too expensive, like this countries laughable immigration policy. is is wrong to expect my tax on something that would bewnefot me instead of paying for asylum seekers. The metro would offer a attractive alternative to the car, how can we progress from usinfg our cars if there is little or no alternative? They waste so much money on pointless things and they pull the plug on this. Thing is thyre all the same!!!

Steve, Romiley
Every single Labour MP in and around Manchester should lobby there idiotic leaders to get this decision overturned - I can't believe that having allowed £200 million to be spent on this scheme (for which, incidentally, more rail miles will be provided for the extra money that the government won't pay) they just turn their noses up at the rest of it. Can this decision be legal? Extending the Metrolink was a fundamental part of the recommendations of the SEMMS report inistigated by THIS GOVERNMENT! I am truly disgusted!

Paul. Manchester
No doubt the next step the government will take will be the congestion charge because "too many people are using their cars instead of public transport". This government does not care about the North, and the sooner people realise that the better.

Michael
This is so, so disappointing. I am angry about this and will certainly be telling my MP. But how do we get behind the hot air and looks at the facts and finances to make a more informed decision?

Mark Sanders - Chorlton
Roads packed with cars/Parliament packed with liars and fools...

Dave, Sale
A shocking decision. If they're not going to provide cash for the Big Bang, how about cash to upgrade the current lines? I'm a huge supporter of the Metrolink but it is starting to creak now and there seem to be an increasing number of vehicle failures causing severe disruption. An attractive (and much cheaper) alternative, if the Government won't support the Big bang, is to help out with cash to maintain the current system.

Helene, Droylsden
Its a ridiculous and short sighted decision by a gimp of a politician. When are they going to realise that the north is part of the UK too - The UK is not just everything south of Watford Gap!

Steve, Manchester
Metrolink is the most expensive tram system in Europe - and has never been eny use to me or anybody I know.

Mark, Hyde
I'm disgusted that money has been taken out of the North West once again, in order to ensure that our capital keeps moving. What happened to the governments commitment to an integrated public transport system? £200M of taxpayers money has now been wasted, families uprooted, and the people of Manchester let down once again, by the Labour war mongerers. Next week they'll probably announce that users of the M60 will be made to pay congestion charge (another road tax), with the capital collected being put back into public transport? How can the working public of the Northwest get to work without their car? This decision must be appealed against?

Jason, Stretford
I think it is disgraceful! Mr Darling has no clear comprehension about business. He has singlehandedly increased the North-south divide in one stupid decision. How can he believe spending OUR money on a crap system in london, and fool himself into believing it will help them with the 2012 olympic bid?? We all know london will never win it. But what he has chosen to do is stop an improved transport system which would have helped with traffic congestion in Manchester and surrounding regions. Even I would have used it as i currently work in one of the proposed additional metrolink routes. Voting for Labour? you're having a laugh!

Phil Cole (Chorlton)
For a city the size of Manchester, a decent public transport system is vital to the continued growth of the region. Admittedly there are some aspects of Metrolink that need reviewing, however to simply scrap the scheme, favouring larger projects in the capital, is extremely shortsighted and does not demonstrate the government's much vaunted commitment to an integrated transport policy. Let the people of Manchester decide what is right in their region, not Westminster!

Ian, Bolton
Yet more evidence of the north/south divide attitude of the Government. Londoners don't know they're born with the Underground. London has a perfectly good mass transport system that every other city in the UK would gladly accept, yet the government is not satisfied with throwing another £10 billion at London, it wants to kick the rest of the country (north of Watford gap) in the teeth by scrapping any chances of catching up.

Dave Chorlton
1bn for 3 new tram lines in Mcr or 10bn for one line in London covering existing routes (central/circle line). Why's ours the poor value one: The same as the spend on Wembley or that ridiculous Dome. Only bright spot is west coast route finally getting sorted which is more about Mcr/north west than anything else.

Laurie Skelmersdale
How on earth can the Government be taken seriously about solving the major traffic congestion, when they in one stroke of the pen make sure that congestion on the roads of Manchester continue to increase. What was the point of building the transport hub at Manchester Airport when now it will not be utilised to its full potential. Come on Manchester City Council, make the government see sense and the error of their ways.

Pablo Costa, Melbourne, Australia
Trams in Melbourne are the heart of the transport infrastructure reducing traffic circulation to such a point where cars are secondary. Manchester is in desperate need of such a move; it is typical of this short-sighted Labour government to scrap Northern trams for the sake of the Olympics Games which we haven't even got yet and will incur a loss that taxpayers will have to pay for if we do have them.

Robert, Stockport
Well said Mark of London. It's so refreshing to here from a Londoner who doesn't think that absolutely everything should be in the capital. We should boycot London until we get a fair deal - in hard cash, not just empty promises!(and not just for transport). No West End shows, no Heathrow flights, and no London sports fixtures. There are 15 million people in the North of England and if all our money stopped pouring into London they would soon notice.

Nigel, Stalybridge
What was the point in demolishing all the property that was on the proposed route and causing all the disruption to the residents. I think every body who feels this decision is wrong should lobby their MP.

Liam, Manchester
OK then .. so they aren't going to spend the money on improving the public transport needs of the Manchester area - so I end up having to spend hours sitting in my car each day trying to navigate what is jokingly called a motorway .. yes the M60 .. Pity, I was hoping one day my journey from Radcliffe to Wythenshawe might have been easier and less stressful, reading a book on the metro, rather than suffering aching limbs with the constant 'stop-start' motion along the motorway ... Ah well, just have to spend more hours in the gym ensuring my ankles don't seize up with the never ending journeys in the car ...

Peter, Stockport
I can't say I'm too upset. Metrolink is inappropriate for lengthy journeys of 10 miles or more and in many respects is inferior to the heavy rail lines it would be replacing. The schemes were a half-baked attempt to get suburban rail improvements on the cheap.

Andrew, London
I'm a Mancunian now living in London and I love Metrolink. I think the move by the government is shortsighted and niave. But I do want to make the point that the £340m London has been given is a mere token to what is actually needed down here. London needs at least £100bn to sort out the mess we have here - Crossrail needs £2bn alone. £340m is mere tinkering around the edges and won't affect the real transport problems we have in London - yes London's infrastructure is a lot better than everywhere else in the UK, but there's a hell of a lot of people here. Believe me - London has been shafted as well. It might look like it from the outside, but I don't think anyone has got anything good out of this. It's all words.

Paul, Altrincham
Typical Labour Party, promise the earth and deliver nothing. As usual, London gets all the benefits from our super-high taxes. I din't vote for them, who did?

Karen, Heald Green
I am completely shocked by this announcement and short-changed by this government. On a day where the government seems to take a soft approach to charging for road use via road tax or on a usage system (with road lobby groups all being highly vocal about this) this seems to have missed the main headlines, they are u-turning about public transport policy. Government departments seem inept at handling large projects, they all seem to over-run, why is it that the London transport system is preferred in this instance? Is it considered that Manchester is a fairly safe labour stronghold and that securing Londoners' votes is considered a higher priority?

Fazal Aslam, Rochdale
What an utter disgrace, I wish the government would make up it's mind on its Private & Public Transport Strategy and stick to it. On one hand we hear about possible nationwide road tolls then we hear them saying they want to get drivers out of cars and onto public transport. I went to my local police station the other day and was shocked - this country is getting more and more like a third world country. The government says one thing and does another. At the end of the day its all linked to finance and budgets. The reality is that if 20% of drivers switched to public transport that would mean less petrol which would mean less income for the chancellor. My message to the whole of the North West is to make a stand and DEMAND this decision be reversed. We want the Metrolink, its been a long time coming and the government needs to get itself in order. I say we setup a website and get the whole north west involved and shake the government up. With the general elections round the corner why not make this an election issue for the north west?

Leon, Manchester
Absolutely atrocious. I only hope that GMPTE and AGMA can come up with a scheme to salvage something from what was a fantastic idea. I hate to sound like a whinging Northerner, but Greater Manchester has just over a quarter of the population of Greater London, yet our scheme cost only a tenth of the ridicukously overpriced Crossrail project. The London-centric attitude of the government (and I speak as a Labour supporter)absolutely beggars belief.

Marilyn (Cheadle)
inevitable - the Governments running out of money, brains and time

John berta manchester
Prescott you coward! Why have you decided not to comment? You make me sick! The DARLING of londoners announces our metrolink is to be scrapped because costs have risen to one billion pounds and then in the same breath he announces ten billion pounds, with an extra four hundred million pounds already pledged towards a single railway line for London! I wonder where the extra four hundred million pounds came from Darling? You make me sick!

Steven, Manchester
Ok, the current metrolink system isn't all that reliable and the insistance to only use two carrige trams still baffle me, but what are the goverment playing at, too expensive? the only thing recently that has been too expensive is a needless war in Iraq.

Craig, Chorlton Manchester
I am writing to express my outrage after hearing about the plans to extend the Greater Manchester Metrolink Expansion have been scrapped. It is typical that the Government should fail to allocate funding for a much needed system that will enhance standards of living and reduce congestion in one of the most congested parts of the country and at the same time announce that the FAR more costly London Crosslink system gets the go ahead. The funding should have been provided earlier and the system could already have been in place by now, but instead we get a scrapping of funding. I know that money has already been spent on strengthening bridges along the route and even buying houses along part of the route in Wythenshawe. The whole thing is a disgrace.

Brynton Chester
Mark from London says it all. The picture of john '2 jags' prescott on a tram promsing the lines would be built a few years back says it all (late edition MEN). The fact it is one of the few success stories makes it even more bewildering. Sure the city is doing quite well of late, but surrounding towns which this scheme would serve, were looking forward to the regeneration this would bring. I hope Manchester finds it within its power to somehow capture its victorian sense of anything possible (i.e.shipping canal) and goes this alone. Can't see Prezza's baby Regional Govt taken seriously now.

Aaron, Cheadle
Another underhand deal by this government that is supposed to act for all Britain not just those with an SW postcode. The announced plans yesterday for the Cross rail link for east-west London were uncannily unveiled just as the wonderful Mr Darling was pulling the plug on our friends up North. Does it follow then that only taxes collected in the South will support this project? I think not all our hard earned money will once again line the pockets of the privieged few. Yet again our hats are off to this forward thinking government this will surely help reduce road congestion and encourage one and all to use the suberb public transport on offer Well Done Whitehall.

Alan, Stockport
Its hard to find words to describe how bad a decision this is. The fact that it has been made by a Labour Government that has been elected twice on the back of a so called commitment to public transport makes it so much worse. Manchester needs the Metrolink, the North West needs the Metrolink and the country needs a proper public transport systems. What we don't need is another railway line in London to go with the Jubilee line extension, the channel tunnel high speed link and everthing else that our taxes have paid for.

Paul Terry, Manchester
An absolutely appalling decision! The new Metrolink lines are vital for the continued regeneration of Manchester. Im disgusted with the government over this, another example of short-sightedness in government, we need to invest in our transport infrastructure to a far greater degree. I hope the city council, GMPTE and our local MPs fight this decision so the scheme can be put back on track!

Dave, Manchester
Its a disgrace and another example of the idiots running the assylum!

Paolo, Manchester
Why is this government still in power? It's a disgrace, yet we sadly sit back and let it happen.

Rob (Manchester)
I'm really angry about what they have done this time, its ridiculous have the government can give London £341m for the Olympics which they may not get and would prove wasted money and when Manchester (or any town in the north) wants some money to greatly improve the public transport situation they say no. The money for the Olympics could have gone towards the most of what was required to get started on the new phase. I really hope London lose in their bid to get the Olympics to show how big of a mistake Mr Blair and his chums have made this time

Gary, South Manchester
Gutted! Here in south Manchester we have old railway cuttings that are perfect for light rail regeneration, just as the old South Manchester Loop Line would have been, it's now mostly filled in, once that happens, the dodgy housing developments go up and there's no way back. Once again Labour lies, just like it did before they took over from the Tories, when they promised Withington Hospital would stay open. I for one would definately have used it, as there was a proposed new station a few yards away from my house, I could have got the tram into town on a Saturday, done a bit of shopping and had a few drinks, now I'm stuck with the car, nowhere to park, contributing to traffic mayhem and polluting the atmosphere. Ha! It's a disgrace, etc...

Jonathan Whitefild
This is just disgusting, how a goverment that claims to be trying to redress the balance between North and South can male a decision like this is beyond me. Bring on the regional assembly I don't want any more London civil servants making decisions that benefit them and not the country as a whole.

Peter (Sale)
Don't forget to send emails to your local MPs. Most have enormous majorities but they will start to dig their heals in and fight against wayward blairite madness if they hear enough people on their doorstops grumbling.

George, Manchester
Wasn't the metro meant to be going to manchester airport, has this been scrapped as well?

Lianne, Manchester
I think it's disgusting. The only reason it's considered to be too expensive is because it won't benefit the south in any way. Will the new rail plans for London be scrapped if they become too expensive? NO.

Anthony, Oldham
This is a massive blow to the people of Oldham. Oldham has already commited itself to the metrolink by clearing large urban areas for tram stops (namley the Derker area), and business' have been opened on union street on the strength of the metro bringing in trade. News of 340 million pounds being pumped into London for their olympic bid is of little comfort for us insignificant northerners.

Scott Ashton
A complete and utter disgrace. Yet again the government supports London in it's transport links and forgets the rest of the country.

David, Stalybridge
The proposed route to Ashton under Lyne has basically been completed already. Are the government really saying that after houses and schools being flattenned, they are not going complete the last part, laying the track? Disgraceful

Mike, Manchester
So the extension to Manchester's Metrolink is scrapped so that millions of pounds can be spent on improving London's transport just in case they get the Olympics in 2012(which lets be honest they don't stand much chance). Once again London is put before the rest of the country! I hate to say it but I don't think I will be voting for Labour at the next general election!

Ethan, Sale
This seems to be very typical of the current Government, continuing to favour London and the south-east over other cities and regions. It comes at a time, when they're talking about reducing the north-south divide by moving Civil Servants out of the London area. To my mind, it seems very short-sighted and very hypocritical. I believe Mr Darling is considering a £10 billion trans-London Crossrail project - no doubt this will receive funding.

Luke Salford
Yet another London-centric decision, £340m given to a esat to west london rail route in same speech

Mark, London
I live in London but I am absolutely gutted on behalf of Manchester. The London Crossrail scheme has gone up by a far higher percentage than the Manchester Tram Big Bang. Crossrail wont even be ready for the Games it is supposed to have been railroaded (sic) through for. Crossrail isnt even needed if you compare the rail based public transport system in London to any other conurbation in Britain it is super-served while the other metropolitain areas are very poorly served indeed. If I still lived in Manchester I would be organing demos and even considering such radical steps as stopping paying part of my taxes in protest at such an inequitous funnelling of money into the south. Labour has thoroughly blown it this time. Shame on them. All power to Manchester campaign to force a re-think.

Clare (Droylsden)
I feel sorry for the people who have sold up and moved because of the plans especially those whose homes have been demolished. What happens to the vacant houses that are yet to be demolished? The area had been preparing for this for years.

Ant Sutton, Stretford
another fine example of the south getting the nod over the north. It makes me sick! Who would ever vote for these idiots again?



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