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The Metrolink tram network is powered by overhead power lines that run above the tramway and carry high voltage electricity.

The power lines are over five metres (around 18 feet) above the tracks and do not pose a danger to pedestrians and motorists at ground level or to those living and working in the vicinity of the tramway.

However, if you own or occupy a property near the tramway or wish to carry out work within 2.75 metres (9 feet) of the overhead power lines, you need to be aware of the potential dangers. We want you to stay safe near Metrolink.

This information relates to street-running sections of the tramway. Contractors wishing to access the segregated sections of Metrolink should contact us using the details under ‘How to get authorisation’.


  • Trams cannot be diverted around a work site.
  • They are powered by 750 volts dc power lines above the track which are live at all times.
  • Cables, services and equipment may be buried and cannot be seen.
  • Sometimes overhead line support fixings may be located within buildings. You must contact Metrolink before considering work that might affect these fixings.

Before you start work near Metrolink you must agree a safe method of working with us and obtain authorisation to work. You must do the work in the agreed way.

Failure to do so will mean the work will be suspended. Unauthorised work can be dangerous and is an offence.

You should also ensure that anyone who occupies your property or carries out work on or near your property is aware of the potential dangers and the need to obtain authorisation to work.

Authorisation is needed for any of the following activities:

  • Any work where part of the site, tools, materials, machines, suspended loads or persons could enter the Metrolink Hazard Zone, such as window cleaning (see diagram below).
  • Any work which could force pedestrians to be diverted into the Metrolink Hazard Zone.
  • Piling, using a crane, excavating more than two metres or erecting and dismantling scaffolding within four metres of the Metrolink Hazard Zone.
  • Any excavation within three metres of any pole supporting overhead lines.
  • Any work on sites near Metrolink where vehicles fitted with cranes, tipping bodies or skip loaders could come within the Metrolink Hazard Zone when the equipment is in use.
  • Any work on sites above Metrolink tunnels or underneath structures carrying Metrolink

Tram safety

Personal protective clothing requirements when working on the Metrolink network

This Standard defines the minimum requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) and work wear to be worn whilst accessing the Metrolink Infrastructure and undertaking work activities on or near the line.

This specification applies throughout Metrolink and to contractors and suppliers working on Metrolink infrastructure.

This standard does not apply to emergency services personnel, Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate, or to Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

Please find below the link to the HSE's notice published in April of this year (11/04/2022).  Personal protective equipment (PPE) at work regulations from 6 April 2022 (

Futher information on Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements

How to get authorisation

In order to obtain authorisation to work near the tramway you must submit a Metrolink Work Request Form, saying where and when you want to work, and describing the work to be done.

Download our Metrolink work request form or email us at Forms can also be obtained by phoning Engineering Planning on 0161 205 2000 or by writing to:

Engineering Planner
Metrolink House
Queens Road
M8 0RY

Completed Work Request Forms must be returned to us at least six weeks before you intend to start work. Major works may need more notice. If you have prepared a method statement, you should send it with your Work Request Form. If the work needs to be submitted to the Highway Authority under the Greater Manchester Road Activities Permit Scheme (‘GMRAPS’) and/or New Roads and Street Works Act, the same information will usually be suitable for Metrolink. Please submit this to Metrolink with your Work Request Form.

We may need to telephone you or meet with you to find out more about the work. You will not be charged for this. If no precautions are necessary, we will tell you in writing.

If you need to take precautions in order to work safely, we will tell you about them in writing. We will try to find ways in which your work can be done safely during normal working hours, though some activities may need to take place at night when trams are not running. These activities can be carried out during the several periods when there are no tram services. However, where your activities need the power to the overhead lines to be switched off, this can be accommodated during planned power switch-offs which occur on a regular basis for maintenance and repair.

Upon request, we can let you know when these planned power switch-offs will take place, so that your work can be carried out during these periods. In the event that you cannot arrange your work for these times, then we may charge a fee for switching the power off, which may vary according to the circumstances of the request.

If you need to carry out work urgently to protect people or property, you must still contact us at the address shown and obtain agreement to carry out the work before you start for your own safety. We will come to the site if necessary but may charge you to cover the costs for this.

Authorisation to proceed with the work will only be given when the safe working arrangements are agreed. Do not start work without it.

Emergencies during work

If work obstructs the track unexpectedly, if anyone or anything comes into contact with the overhead wires or if tramway equipment is damaged, please inform the Metrolink control room immediately.

The control room can be contacted at any time by:

  • Using the emergency help point at any tram stop
  • By telephoning 0161 203 5619 (emergencies only)
  • Contacting a Metrolink representative
  • Contacting the emergency services using 999

You must tell the control room that there is an emergency.

The controller will ask you for details of the emergency.

Please answer the questions as quickly and clearly as possible:

  • Who are you and where are you?
  • What has happened?
  • Is anyone or anything touching the overhead lines?
  • Is the track obstructed?
  • Which emergency services are needed (if any)?

Please ensure you follow any instructions given by the controller.

If an approaching tram must be stopped, signal to the driver by holding both arms above your head. You should stand where the driver can see you, but not in the path of the tram.

For more information about safe working procedures contact:

Engineering Planner
Metrolink House
Queens Road
M8 0RY
Tel: 0161 205 2000