PLANS to bring Metrolink tram services to Bolton have come "one step closer" to being realised, after the Government agreed to fund a viability study into bringing the service to the borough.

The Department of Transport has agreed to a feasibility study on extending to tram service to Bolton town centre.

The plans would involve reviving a disused Bolton to Bury track bed, which advocates hope will better connect Bolton to the rest of Greater Manchester.

Bolton North MP Mark Logan, who has campaigned extensively on this issue, said: "This is very early days, and indeed still in initial consultation, yet it’s a fantastic update that a funding agreement with the Department for Transport to undergo the feasibility stage of the potential to extend Metrolink to Bolton has been finalised.

"This has allowed us to procure consultancy support to generate a report that assesses the feasibility, scope of the project and investment requirements.

"I look forward to engaging with constituents on the findings of the report once finalised.

"And I must stress again that it is early days in understanding the extent to which Metrolink is possible on this route"

Mr Logan launched his campaign to bring Metrolink to Bolton shortly after his election in December 2019 and submitted a bid as part of the Department for Transport’s £500 million Restoring Your Railways Ideas Fund, designed to reinstate axed local services and restore stations.

He said: "The Metrolink tram extension would open up a whole host of economic and social activity, add to the regeneration of Bolton town centre and boost the real estate market, making Bolton an even more attractive place to live.

"The wider region also stands to benefit from increasing connectivity."

Mr Logan says he will update constituents on the latest developments.

Metro Mayor Andy Burnham has previously said that he also supports extending the Metrolink to Bolton, along with Middleton and Stockport as part of a £1billion scheme.

Mr Burnham made the pledge while visiting Westhoughton as part of his re-election campaign last April  and has said that he hopes this could see Greater Manchester eventually create a London style intergrated transport system dubbed "The Bee Network."

Speaking during his campaign, he said: "Across the world, the most successful city-regions have one thing in common, an affordable, integrated and accessible transport network.

"People in Greater Manchester have made clear that they won’t settle for second best any longer, that is why on day one of my second term as Mayor I’m vowing to accelerate the delivery of a world-class transport network for our city-region and its people.

"It is absolutely critical to our future economic and social prosperity."