Thursday 19 July 2012

All Manchester T68 Trams Will Be Replaced

 © Dan Sellers
Metrolink has celebrated its 20th birthday – with bosses revealing that the old blue and grey trams will be taken off the tracks within two years. The service was officially opened on July 17, 1992, and more than 300m journeys have been made on the tram system since then. Today transport chiefs have marked the anniversary by announcing that all of the remaining old T68 trams will be replaced with the new yellow-and-silver ones by 2014. Their phased withdrawal has already begun but an order for new trams to replace the remaining vehicles has now been approved by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Coun Andrew Fender, chairman for 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 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 on.”
Transport leaders agreed to replace 12 of the 32 original trams in September last year. There will be 94 of the new trams on the network when all the new trams have been delivered. They are four times less likely to develop a disruptive fault than the old vehicles. Work is continuing on the ‘big bang’ Metrolink expansion, which is expected to see the East Manchester Line opened to Droylsden later this year. It will be the country’s biggest tram system by 2016 when new lines to Ashton-under-Lyne, East Didsbury, Oldham, Rochdale, Wythenshawe and Manchester airport are built.

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