After a period of very little movement with the four remaining T68s/T68As on Manchester Metrolink metals it looks set to be a busier period as Keolis Amey Metrolink look to start to clear the space they take in preparation for the delivery of 27 more M5000s, on order and due to start arriving later this year. Both 1020 and 1023 are set to depart Trafford Depot in the coming days – for one of them it will be a new start while for the others it doesn’t look as if it will be such a happy ending!
It looks as if the first T68 to be leaving will be 1020 which has been moved to the area at Trafford Depot where all trams which have been transported away have been loaded and is now visible from passing trams on the Altrincham line (previously you could only see the T68/T68As in the yard when travelling on the East Didsbury line). It is expected to depart soon and if the internet is to be believed it will be a one way trip to the scrapyard.
1020 last ran in service on 2nd November 2012 and has been stored out of use for the past seven years with most of this time finding it in the yard at Trafford Depot just waiting to see if it had a future – and now it would appear it doesn’t!
The more pleasing news to report is that 1023 is due to depart Trafford Depot next week to start its life in preservation. Now owned by the Manchester Transport Museum Society (one of two T68s to be owned by the group who run the Heaton Park Tramway) 1023 won’t be heading directly to Heaton Park but will instead be heading into Cheshire and the Crewe Heritage Centre where it is set to be put on display. This will be the very first full-scale “modern” UK tram to go on display at a museum.
1023 was withdrawn from service on 21st January 2014 and has also been in store since then (just the six years for this one!). But unlike 1020 it has been preserved and will eventually head to Heaton Park for its new life in preservation.
Of the other two T68/T68As at Trafford Depot 1007 is also destined for preservation at the Heaton Park Tramway (and remains stored in the main building at Trafford Depot) while 2001 has an uncertain future but will presumably also be on the move as well as KAM get ready for the next 27 M5000s to arrive.