Transport for Greater Manchester have now confirmed that the recently announced deal for extra LRVs on the Metrolink network will be for 16 vehicles rather than the expected 12, bringing the eventual size of the M5000 fleet to 120.
The larger order is said to have been made possible through a combination of favourable exchange rates and buying in bulk with the cash still coming through the government’s Local Growth Fund. It is anticipated that the 16 new LRVs will cost £34 million.
Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Metrolink Committee, said: “This latest tram order is great news for Metrolink passengers and means there will be 26 new trams set to start running on the network in coming years. As Metrolink expands and grows in popularity we know that our customers want extra services and extra room on trams, and that’s why we are looking to the future and making sure we can meet that demand. This order will bring the tram fleet to 120 vehicles – a symbol of just how far our network has come since it opened in 1992 with just 26 trams. Our major expansion programme has been a giant leap for Metrolink, and that leap has been matched by the far greater performance and quality of the new M5000 trams compared to the original, now-retired T68 vehicles.”
The FLEXITY Swift vehicles will continue to be built by Bombardier at Bautzen in Germany and Vienna in Austria and it is expected all 120 will be in Manchester by 2017 to aid an increase in capacity.
This order is for the future but in the past few days the M5000s which are already in Manchester have also been making the news with 3087 entering service (at the time of this LRV entering service it meant that all LRVs in Manchester had carried passengers) and then 3088 being delivered to Queens Road. 3087 was first in use on Thursday 11th September and like the other recent LRVs to enter service is restricted to TMS enabled routes whilst 3088 arrived on Saturday 13th September and is now undergoing commissioning. There are now 86 M5000s available for service with just 3013 (still undergoing accident repairs) and 3088 not operational.