Next stop Manchester: 100th Metrolink tram rolls into city after trek across Europe

Metrolink’s hundredth new tram rolled into the Manchester Queen’s Road depot this weekend after a marathon 1,000-mile journey across Europe.

The brand new vehicle arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning after leaving the Vienna depot of global manufacturer Bombardier last Tuesday.

Travelling on the back of an articulated lorry, the tram travelled over 1,000 miles as it made its way through Germany, the Netherlands and Rotterdam before landing at the Port of Hull in the early hours of Saturday morning.

It’s five-and-a-half years since the first new-style ‘M5000’ yellow and silver tram went into service on the Piccadilly to Eccles line on 16 December 2009 – and the Metrolink fleet has now grown to its largest ever size.

The last old-school T68 model tram was retired last year, meaning the 100-strong fleet is now completely modernised. The same M5000 state-of-the-art model of tram also runs in several European cities, including Cologne, Bonn, Rotterdam and Stockholm.

The hundredth tram – which will travel an average of 82,000 miles in its first year – will now be given a thorough check and kitted out with its Greater Manchester style livery before making its first run out on the system later this month.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee said: “This is a real landmark for us and a sign of just how far Metrolink has come.

“We now have a completely modern fleet of 100 trams which are helping us deliver a frequent, reliable service that carried a staggering 31 million passenger journeys last year.

“I greatly look forward to seeing the new tram out and about across the network later this month – passengers should keep an eye out for tram 3100!”

Metrolink’s fleet will ultimately be boosted to 120 vehicles by 2017 to provide extra space and capacity across the network.

In September last year TfGM announced it had been able to secure a £34 million deal with Bombardier for 16 new trams with funding from the government’s Local Growth Fund.

That order was in addition to the 10 trams ordered to serve the future Trafford Park line, and the 94 trams ordered to serve the expanded network and replace the entire T68 fleet.

As part of a £1.5 billion expansion and improvement programme Metrolink now offers frequent services calling at 92 stops across a network connecting the city centre with Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Didsbury, Altrincham, MediaCityUK and Eccles.

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