1011 has become the first of the T68s to be withdrawn from service on Manchester Metrolink after just 20 years service. As has been reported in the past few months following a number of high profile failures in traffic it has been Transport for Greater
Manchester’s aim to get 12 of the original Metrolink trams withdrawn from service to help improve reliability and 1011 was chosen as the first as it is in the worst condition of the fleet.
1011 last ran in service on the Bury-Altrincham circuit on Wednesday 18th April and at the end of the day returned to Queens Road Depot. It is now expected to be stripped of its essential equipment with the TMS equipment likely to be used to allow another M5000 to enter service on the current network. When this is done the tram will be stored with a move to Old Trafford Depot possible for long term storage and/or disposal. 1011 ran in
service on the very first day of Metrolink back on 6th April 1992 and so has managed to clock up just over 20 years of service.
1011 becomes the first second generation tram in the UK to be officially withdrawn from service although several examples of the Midland Metro fleet have spent long periods of time out of use with both 01 and 02 currently stored at Wednesbury Depot out of service. Whether one of the T68s will find its way into preservation is not currently known but the length and fact that they are high floor vehicles will present some problems for any budding preservationists.
A further 11 T68s will be withdrawn over the next few months (it was originally the plan that one tram a week would be taken out of service) with 1004 scheduled to be the next. It is not yet known which other 10 trams will be withdrawn but it is highly likely they will include examples which have not had the latest modification work such as the air conditioning units. We will of course bring you the news as and when we receive it!