And then there were three…

There are now only three T68As available for service on Manchester Metrolink following the withdrawal of 2002. The tram last operated services between Piccadilly and Eccles during the evening of Wednesday 24 April after which it returned to Queen’s Road depot where it remains whilst the ATS and VRS equipment is removed for further use.

The withdrawal of 2002 means that there are now only three of the once six strong class of trams available for service following on from 2004 and 2006 being taken out of service earlier this month. Of the three remaining it is likely that 2003 and 2005 will be  withdrawn in the near future although 2001 may well survive a bit longer. This is because 2001 spent a long period of time out of service between 2005 and 2011 (the years not some extra members of the T68A fleet!) and as a result has fairly low mileage and is in a fairly good condition. For the time being the Eccles line remains the best place to catch one of the remaining T68As.

Meanwhile a further M5000 has now entered service with 3055 operating its first passenger journeys on the evening of Wednesday 24 April. It has joined the operational fleet at Queen’s Road depot.

2002 approaches St Peter's Square on a wet 20th September 2012 when operating a MediaCityUK service. It has now been withdrawn from service. (Photo: Gareth Prior)

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13 Responses to And then there were three…

  1. Ken walker says:

    Sad to see these trams being withdrawn after only 12 or 13 years service. What a waste. Old Trafford depot will soon be hosting more withdrawn trams than serviceable ones at this rate!

  2. Phil Hart says:

    Main problem with the T68a is that they have been very unreliable.Due to their unreliablity they could not run as doubles

    • Dan Clarke says:

      Yes The T68As Can’t Run As Doubles In Service But I Have Seen A You Tube Video Of A T68A In A Tram Trio Out Of Service. The Other Two Trams Were T68s Only One Had Eccles Modifications. I Can’t Remember Which Video But The T68As Can Couple Up To Other Trams, Just Not In Service

      • roger woodhead says:

        T68A’s can be run in service coupled to another vehicle it is for historical reasons that they do not. When one was coupled to another (I cannot remember now if it was to a T68 or 68A) it ‘blew’ the brakes on the T68A. The problem was a defective component on the 68A, inspection of the other five revealed they had the same defective component. This item was replaced on all six 68A’s and they tested together fine, but the damage was done and they were no longer trusted to operate in tandem. I hope that clears the matter for everyone!

    • Ken Walker says:

      Indeed they have been unreliable, but 13 years service isn’t very much at around £1 million a vehicle.

      Just had possibly my last ride on 2005 on the Eccles service

  3. Howard Piltz says:

    Withdrawal of T68 and T68A trams after such a short life span is deplorable and a gross waste of ratepayers’ money. Is it really not possible to improve the reliability of these trams? I have little doubt that the decision to replace them is political. If these trams cannot be improved then has anyone bothered making sure the grey-suits in Whitehall are made aware that their penny-pinching behaviour when Metrolink was being formulated is responsible for this debacle.

    • roger woodhead says:

      Not just Ratepayers money, Howard, but Taxpayers as well. The whole waste is typical of what I feel is TfGM’s somewhat cavalier attitude with other peoples money. I openly admit that I believe TfGM should be scrapped and Metrolink operations be carried out by a private operator (as now) but with far greaterpowers of decision making, including finance, than at present. Rant over!

    • Dan Clarke says:

      The Tyne And Wear Metro Stock Dates From 1980 And There Are No Plans To Replace Them Untill 2025. I Wonder If The M5000s Will Be Withdrawn After Just 20 Years In Service Once They Reach That

  4. Ken Walker says:

    Probably in connection with the Manchester marathon, double T68 1012+1021 were unusually noted in the Sheffield Street turnback siding at Piccadilly early this afternoon, and were still in service on the Piccadilly/Altrincham route at 10 o’clock this evening

  5. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    They should be hanging on to as many trams as they can and maybe doing a more substantial overhaul on those remaining to keep them going at least another 5 years. After all as has been said many times there will not be enough trams once the full system is up and running. Depressing to see the graffiti on withdrawn examples at Old Trafford.

  6. David Butterworth says:

    Interestingly this situation reminds me of a similar problem with, at the time, modern trams in Blackpool in the early 1960’s. The first of the 1952/3 ‘Vambac’ Coronations (313) was withdrawn at the end of the 1963 illuminations.
    The others followed a few years later as a consequence of their continuing unreliability. 313 was in service for only ten years and was dismantled in 1968 in the depot at Blundell Street.

  7. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Noted and photographed today the 30th April:1017+1013,1007+1022,1003+1023,1002+1014,1016+1024. 1026,2001,2003 and 2005. 14 in total.

  8. TM says:

    The T68s are being withdrawn as it is not economical to refurbish them, hence why additional M5000s were tagged onto the existing order.

    To leave a non-standard fleet of six vehicles is not a wise move; the right decision has been made to replace and standardise the fleet with new vehicles and will ultimately end up costing less in the long run.

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