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I'm bit confused about Manchester's Metrolink serving Manchester Airport. Metrolink website states there are trams going to Cornbrook every 12 minutes, which seems like the best way to get from the airport to Old Trafford with exchange at Cornbrook.

However, neither Google or various journey planners offer this option, most of them directing me thru Picadilly station with train to take at the airport.

I'll traveling from Prague on Fri 12/12, arriving to Manchester at around 1:45pm. I'd like to book Old Trafford stadium tour for the same day, so was wondering what the best transport option I have from the airport.

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    oh, cool, will use tram then. Thank you for info. – Antonin Jelinek Nov 20 '14 at 9:49
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The metro link to the airport is newly opened (Monday 3rd November 2014)

See official Metro Link site for details and map.

So you will need to take a tram from the Airport to Trafford Bar and change for a tram for one stop to Old Trafford. Route Map.

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    The Old Trafford on the tram map is the cricket ground, not the football ground. Walking from Trafford Bar would take maybe 10 minutes. Follow Chester Road west and you'll see the football ground down Sir Matt Busby Way. – DaveP Nov 20 '14 at 18:27
  • @DaveP I would argue that it is easier to walk from Old Trafford tram to Old Trafford Stadium than Trafford Bar tram to Old Trafford Stadium. Its one straight line. This is also the traditional walk United fans endure on matchday. – davidb Nov 21 '14 at 9:11
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    Just seems a bit pointless to wait for a second tram to travel one stop (a distance of a few hundred metres) just to have a straight line walk. – DaveP Nov 21 '14 at 14:22
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    Don't try to change at Trafford Bar with luggage - that would involve an overbridge. Instead, change at Cornbrook (one stop along), as the platforms are adjacent there. – Richard Gadsden Nov 26 '14 at 17:36
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The tram takes a long way around - it takes a bit of a tour through Manchester suburbs, and it's maximum speed is 50 mph (80km/h).

If there was a direct service, then the extra convenience of not needing to change would probably make it a superior option. But there isn't a direct service - you need to change at Trafford Bar or Cornbrook. I would suggest changing tram at Cornbrook because you can walk from one line to the other directly, rather than having to climb a bridge over the tracks.

The trains from Manchester Airport to Deansgate station are much faster than the trams into Manchester, and you can cross from the train to tram at Deansgate and pick up a tram to Old Trafford.

Since you're having to change anyway, the tram/train route via Deansgate is probably faster than tram all the way. Note that some trains don't stop at Deansgate - you would need to change at Piccadilly instead on those routes, and that's a long and awkward change inside the station.

If I were making that journey, I would check the departure boards for when the next train leaves, and whether it goes to Deansgate or not. If there is a Deansgate train in the next 10-15 minutes, I'd take it; if not, then I'd take a tram (which are every 12 minutes).

Note that the tram and train platforms are next to each other at Manchester Airport, but the ticketing systems are different and the train ticket office is at the upper level (there are tram ticket machines on the platforms), so you might need to go up to the ticket office level and then back down again, so check before you buy a ticket and go down to the platform.

  • Thank you, Richard. Even if train is faster than tram, I think I'll stick with tram as after the Old Trafford experience I still need to get to my hotel (next to the Picadilly station), so I plan to get off-peak travelcard for trams. – Antonin Jelinek Nov 27 '14 at 9:44
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    The tram station within Piccadilly is rather badly located - you might find that Piccadilly Gardens is more convenient for many Piccadilly hotels. I would suggest phoning the hotel and asking them which tram station would be more convenient. – Richard Gadsden Dec 5 '14 at 13:42
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    Note: This answer is not a good solution between 28th June 2015 and "Late August 2015", and will again not be a good solution "ten months" following the resumption of service, until "8 weeks" after. During both these periods, no metrolink services are running through St Peteres Square. transformationinformation.co.uk/st-peters-square – CMaster Jul 30 '15 at 14:46
  • @CMaster Deansgate station is on the same side of St Peter's Square as Old Trafford, so you would be fine to change there from train to tram. Changing at Piccadilly is worse, but I wouldn't recommend that anyway (unless you're local and know the shortcut - which I wouldn't recommend in general because you will get lost the first time you try it). – Richard Gadsden Jul 31 '15 at 8:23
  • @Richard. Of course. Not sure quite what I was thinking. I don't think changing at Picadilly is hard though. There are BIG signs to Metrolink in the station, it's only 2 (or 3 if you're coming from 13/14) flights of stairs to go down. And there are many, many more trains from the airport going to Picadilly than Deansgate - you could be waiting a while for an airport-deansgate train depending on the time of day. Although I'll agree (now that the new bridge in installed) a Deansgate-metro transfer is easier. – CMaster Jul 31 '15 at 15:18
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@pnuts comment answers this question, I guess: The Metrolink details are reliable. The service has only been running for two weeks and presumably other sites have yet to catch up with developments.

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