Tramspotting: Manchester’s top Metro fanatic’s farewell to Britain’s most important trams – the scrapped T68s

Manchester’s tram superfan has revealed his own goodbye to the scrapped T68s after the failed Metrolink selfie send-off.

Reece Hughes joined several Metro-maniacs on the final T68 ride when Frank Sinatra’s My Way was played over the tannoy as it left Bury at 8:03pm – a nod to the vehicle’s serial number 2003.

Manchester resident and hardcore tram fanatic Reece, 21, was more than a little disappointed by the T68’s farewell – but he was resigned to seeing his beloved trams retired with a whimper.

“When I found out about the tram’s withdrawal in April 2012 I, like many tram enthusiasts, was rather shocked,” he told MM.

“But we knew the day was going to arrive at some stage.”

Metrolink’s T68 selfie campaign was intended to celebrate its bowing out of service, but made the news for all the wrong reasons when only two tram travellers took part.

And tram enthusiasts are keen to put right the low-key send-off received by the last of Manchester’s original T68 trams at the end of April.

One of just two contributors to the selfie campaign, Reece, who works in a café in the city centre, says he fell in love with trams after moving to Manchester from the Midlands in 2003.

“My enthusiasm for trams actually stemmed from the T68s themselves,” said Reece.

“They were the very first second generation trams, and hence probably the most important trams in Britain.”

The T68s were introduced in Manchester in 1992 and have been a staple feature of the city centre ever since.

The trams had been in service for just over two decades when Metrolink decided to scrap them.

“When they first came into service around 22 years ago, the Metrolink network consisted only of the section between Victoria Station and Bury – how times have changed,” said Reece.

Reece’s personal favourite tram, a T68 named ‘Poppy Appeal’ after the charity, was also among the last to be retired making its farewell run in February.

The T68s may all be happily retired, but Reece says tram systems have a bright future ahead of them.

Nottingham and the West Midlands are extending their tram networks and a new system is soon to be introduced in Edinburgh.

“They are, to me, a very interesting part of history but I think trams are becoming an increasingly important part of modern society,” said Reece.

“It may be many, many years since the first generation of trams were operating, but I feel trams are a long way off from their sell-by date.”

Image courtesy of Rept0n1x with thanks

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