Rail Industry Focus


Metrolink replacing entire fleet by 2014

Source: Rail Technology Magazine Aug/Sept 2012

Kate Ashley reports on a major upgrade to the Manchester light rail system’s tram fleet.

Manchester Metrolink will get 20 new M5000 trams to replace all of its old T68 stock by 2014, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has announced.

12 of the original T68 trams were replaced last September, with the old trams in a period of phased retirement.

The rest of the fleet is now definitely to be replaced too, with an order for 20 new M5000s to be placed with the consortium of Bombardier and Vossloh Kiepe.

The order is in addition to 74 new trams for the existing and expanding network. Once all the new lines are in operation, 94 M5000s will serve the network.

The trams, an adaptation of Bombardier’s popular Flexity design known as Flexity Swift, are ten tonnes lighter than the old T68s, reducing track wear and energy usage. They are on average four times less likely to develop a disruptive fault, too.

The T68s’ original design life was 30 years – meaning they were due to be replaced by 2022.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM committee, said: “This decision signals the end of one chapter for Metrolink and the start of a new one. Our T68 vehicles were the first of their kind in the UK and served the first modern light rail network of its kind in the country.

“The arrival into service of our first new vehicles in December 2009 demonstrated just how far the industry has come in that time and it is clear that our T68s no longer live up to the standards that passengers expect. The time has now come for them to enter a well-earned retirement.

“The new Bombardier trams have delivered significant improvements for passengers and I’m sure regular users of the network will welcome this announcement and the benefits it will bring to the services they depend upon.”

Following the opening of the new South Manchester line to St Werburgh’s Road in Chorlton last summer, which will eventually reach Manchester Airport, the line to Oldham is now open too, having launched in June.

The trams terminate at temporary stop Oldham Mumps, until the rest of the extension to Rotherham opens, at which point a new Oldham town centre stop will be used. The line serves a mix of new Metrolink stations and some that were previously served by heavy rail trains.

The opening of the 3.9-mile eastern extension from Manchester Piccadilly to Droylsden, however, has been delayed, first from ‘spring 2012’ to ‘summer 2012’, then to ‘autumn 2012’, and now there are fears it won’t be open until next year. The infrastructure has been in place since October 2011, and tram testing began in June. The new line, which serves Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, will in 2013/14 be extended to Ashton-under-Lyne.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

View all News

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Year with brand-new infrastructrure to... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >


Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provi... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >