Monday 30 April 2012

T68 Trams Being Withdrawn from Manchester

The first of the Italian built T68 Manchester trams (1011) has been officially withdrawn. Introduced in April 1992 the Firema T68's were designed to have a working life of 30 years but recently their reliability has been poor and they are being replaced by the new Bombardier M5000's more of which are being introduced to the Manchester fleet.
26 T68's were built (1001 - 1026) to serve the first phase of Metrolink from Bury to Altringham. Later six Ansaldo built T68A's were introduced (2001 - 2006) in 1999 to serve the extension to Eccles. Three of the A68's were modified to run on the Eccles line and can operate throughout the network.
Metrolink is currently undergoing a £1.4bn expansion that will see new lines opening to Oldham, Rochdale, Ashton East Didsbury and Manchester Airport. The next stage of the expansion project has been hit by delays due to problems with a new computer system that will control points and signals and pinpoint the location of every tram.