Anthony Young's Story

Author: Anthony Young
Anthony Young's Story

The aim of Tony’s Fellowship was to study urban transport systems, primarily public transport, to see what lessons could be learnt of relevance to the UK.

At that time, levels of car ownership in North America were about two decades ahead of the UK, so it was possible to gain an idea of what Britain could be like in 20 years time.

Tony visited about 20 major cities in America and Canada, spending time with key personnel in highway and planning authorities, public transport agencies and operators, university transport research departments and transport consultants.

As a direct result of his Fellowship, Tony was granted a senior planning post within the newly created SELNEC Passenger Transport Executive (later Greater Manchester PTE), where he was able to influence strategic long term plans for public transport.

Here he led the development of a public transport solution based on light rail or tramway technology. The inspiration for this came particularly from Boston, Massachusetts, where a former suburban rail line was converted into a light rail line with direct access into the city centre and major park and ride sites in the suburbs.

The concept was applied to two suburban rail lines in Greater Manchester, which became the Metrolink tram system. Tony led the planning team which produced the parliamentary plans in 1984, 15 years after his Fellowship, and the first lines opened in 1992. The network has now expanded from the initial 31km to nearly 100km and is still expanding. It is now widely accepted as the largest and most successful tram system in Britain.

After the completion of Phase 1 Metrolink, Tony became an independent consultant and for the next 20 years advised other systems on light rail, including London Transport and overseas projects. He is convinced that none of this would have happened without his Churchill Travelling Fellowship.