Metrolink T68 1002 withdrawal leaves fleet in single figures

Manchester Metrolink T68 1002 was officially withdrawn from service on Monday 18th November, leaving the T68 passenger fleet at just nine examples. 1002 had proved to be unreliable in recent weeks and it last worked on the Eccles service on 12th November.

At first glance it would appear that this is just “another” T68 withdrawal but 1002 actually has a few claims to fame. It was the first T68 to be named when it received MANCHESTER ARNDALE name stickers in November 1991, before Metrolink had even opened. If that claim to fame isn’t exciting enough for you then the other two claims hopefully will be. Firstly 1002 was the first T68 to be gauged to St Werburgh’s Road on the South Manchester Line when it was hauled there by a shunter on hire from the Ribble Steam Railway. It was also the first T68 to be used for type testing on the Oldham Rochdale Line as far as Oldham Mumps, although it was hauled dead alongside the Network Rail line between Central Park and Failsworth as there had not been Stray Current Testing on the line. Only a couple of trips of T68s were ever made on the Oldham Rochdale Line as the decision was taken to withdraw the vehicles rather than to refurbish them so the appearance of 1002 here was a very rare occurrence.

Elsewhere on Manchester Metrolink in addition to withdrawn from passenger service T68 1021 receiving a modified ice breaker pantograph, four M5000s have now also received these modified pantographs. The four vehicles involved are 3001, 3002, 3003 and 3004 and they are now being used on regular basis to help clear the Metrolink network of ice as it forms on the overhead.

1002 passes Manchester Central on 3rd May 2011. (Photo: Gareth Prior)

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9 Responses to Metrolink T68 1002 withdrawal leaves fleet in single figures

  1. David Mee says:

    Farewell then to another old friend. It looks like the end really is now in sight for the T68, now in single figures the long term viability of the fleet must be near to zero.

    I do hope the powers that be can be encouraged to keep at least one example as a reminder of the pioneering days of the new generation tramways in the UK. It really would be sad if they all went for scrap.

  2. nigel says:

    There is a cold snap forecast from next Thursday onwards, could only be 4 days but general thinking is it could now last a couple of weeks. Its time for Metrolink to prove the doubters wrong and that they can deliver in winter conditions.

    Any sign of failure to do so is going to cause them a major headache as the eyes of the media are watching them closer than ever before from what I interpret from twitter feeds.

  3. George Reywer says:

    I hope that 1007 is preserved/retained as it was the first “official” tram on opening of Metrolink (and 1007 was also the official last tram on the old Manchester Corporation Tramways in 1949).

    It would be nice to think that Metrolink could treat its 1007 better than Manchester did the original 1007.

    • Andrew says:

      1007 was not the official first tram on the opening of Metrolink. The first trams were 1012 and 1004 and 1008 running as a coupled pair.

      • Colin Smith says:

        True! 1007 was used on the first passenger service across the City centre. It was specifically chosen because of the symbolism with the last of the first generation trams having carried the same fleet number.

    • Ken Walker says:

      1007 was apparently the first passenger carrying tram on the city centre section, not the first tram to carry passengers on Metrolink. I thought the same as you but have now found it to be wrong!

  4. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    I have a video my dad did of 1002 on one of the first powered trips through the city centre in 2001.
    We were both videoing at that period but dad also got 1001 on it’s clearance test.

  5. 1002 never made it to Oldham Mumps, it may have made it to Central Park where several of them did before it opened for testing, but 1010 was the only T68 to reach Mumps, top and tailed by two M5000′s

  6. tram man says:

    T68′s 1013+1026 arrived at old Trafford over the weekend as a double unit,and join the ranks of scrapped units.Apparently plans are in place for disposal of the T68′s to start very soon.
    3058 is now no longer on the T.M.S only list and is back in service after having A.T.S and V.R.S fitted over the last few weeks at old Trafford.3059 is the next vehicle currently being fitted with A.T.S and V.R.S equipment.