A SPECIAL commemorative book has been published keeping track on the past 25 years of the Metrolink.

Since its opening on April 6, 1992, Metrolink has gone on to become the largest light rail network in the UK and is now treble its original size thanks to a £1.5 billion expansion programme.

Metrolink: The first 25 years, chronicles the entire history of the system, charting the various line openings and feats of construction and engineering, technical innovations and challenges faced along the way.

The book also looks closely at the history of the trams themselves and the schemes which came before Metrolink – dating back to the 1800s.

It shows how the trams have become a landmark feature of Greater Manchester and contains interviews with staff who worked on the initial concept for Metrolink and subsequent project.

Author Mark Ovenden said: “I was living in Manchester during the construction period when Metrolink was first being built and remember seeing the original tram tracks in Market Street being uncovered in preparation for the new system.

“We’ve had a great initial reaction to the book, and have received a lot of compliments from all areas. I hope everyone has the opportunity to flick through the pages of Metrolink’s fascinating history.”

Initially, Metrolink only ran between Bury and Victoria before a street-running section from Victoria to the G-Mex was opened a few weeks later.

The network now runs to 93 stops on seven lines right across Greater Manchester. Spanning more than 60 miles, a fleet of 120 modern trams now carry a record breaking 40 million passenger journeys a year.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “Everyone who has helped to craft and shape such an iconic symbol of Greater Manchester over the past 25 years should be proud of their achievements.

“No one could have predicted the unparalleled successes we would have when the first passenger service set off between Bury and Manchester Victoria back in 1992. This book allows us to look back on the story of Metrolink and its transformation into what it is today.”

Metrolink: The first 25 years is available at Waterstones and other bookstores, the Greater Manchester Transport Museum and online.