The T68 fleet of Manchester Metrolink has decreased further by one following the withdrawal of 1003. The unique liveried vehicle was withdrawn on 12th November having been stopped exactly a week earlier after suffering a traction motor flashover. This now means that 16 of the original 26 T68 fleet have been withdrawn from service although one of those already withdrawn has found another use.
The tram to find another use? Well that is 1021 – withdrawn on 5th November – which has now been fitted with the modified ice-breaker pantograph as carried by 1025 briefly earlier in 2013. As a result 1021 remains fully intact at Queens Road Depot and although it will not be carrying passengers again it is fully operational and will be used for ice-breaking duties during the winter 2013/14 period.
Back to 1003 and this tram has already been moved to Trafford Depot and has taken its place in the ever increasing scrap line there. Of course this vehicle is the only T68 to carry passengers in the Yellow and Silver livery having been reliveried when it received special adverts for Manchester’s Christmas Markets and retained the livery when these expired and were replaced with designs for the Imperial War Museum North.
Just ten of the T68 are now available for service alongside 2001 and 2003 from the T68A fleet, a far cry from their glory days when they ruled the roost on Manchester Metrolink. It is still expected that there will be several more withdrawals by the end of this year and these may well be accelerated in the coming weeks when some major allocation and diagram changes are made. This will see more trams running from Trafford Depot and we will bring you further details when this is confirmed.
Although we have seen 1003 withdrawn this week the total fleet size of Metrolink has actually grown by one as two further M5000s have been commissioned for service. The trams in question are 3073 and 3074 which have joined the non-ATS fitted fleet for use on the Eccles and MediaCityUK services. Both carried their first passengers on Thursday 14th November and in doing so became the 100th and 101st LRVs to operate during Manchester Metrolink’s 21 year history.
Saturday 16th November saw the latest M5000 to arrive from Germany with 3076 being delivered to Queens Road Depot. The LRV is now awaiting commissioning and mileage accumulation trials. The previous delivery – 3075 – remains at Queens Road having undergone this work.
Meanwhile the testing on the Rochdale railway station extension has been stepped up with five M5000s currently outbased at Rochdale for this purpose: 3068, 3069, 3070, 3071 and 3074.