As promised when T68 1020 was withdrawn from service last November, M5000 3020 has taken the name Lancashire Fusiliers to keep Manchester Metrolink’s long and proud journey with the regiment going. The naming took place within Queen’s Road depot on Saturday 16th March with the Mayor of Bury, representatives from the Lancashire Fusiliers, Transport for Greater Manchester and rather bizarrely the actress who plays Fiz
in Coronation Street all present.
Manchester Metrolink have supported the Lancashire Fusiliers for a number of years with previously T68 1020 carrying the name of the regiment. Metrolink have also supported the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal with a special poppy tram running on the network and it has been confirmed that 3020 will carry out this role in the future.
The formal naming ceremony took place on Saturday 16th March when a special plaque was unveiled by Jennie McAlpine (Fiz from Coronation Street), Colonel Mike Glover (Regimental Secretary (Lancashire) for the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and Commandant Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force), Cllr Andrew Fender (Chair of the TfGM Committee) and Cllr Joan Grimshaw (Mayor of Bury). The name is carried on the side of the vehicle and features the name taken off 1020 and also an extra name in a circle above with the Lancashire Fusiliers crest. Also present at the ceremony were the Fusilier Corps of Drums who entertained those assembled.
Cllr Fender commented about the naming: “The Lancashire Fusiliers have a very proud history and we are delighted to have honoured that by continuing a long-standing tradition in naming one of our new trams after the regiment. This ceremony has revitalised the enduring links between the Fusiliers and Metrolink, and will see us continue to walk shoulder to shoulder, long into the future.”
The Lancashire Fusiliers were formed in the 18th century and were originally designated the 20th Foot (hence the use of 1020 and 3020 to carry the name). They moved to a depot in Bury in 1873 and were awarded the title Lancashire Fusiliers in 1881. Then in 1968 they merged with three other English Fusilier regiments and formed The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
And the reason for Jennie McAlpine being there to carry out the naming? It was to provide a link with the only other M5000 to be named – 3009 was named Coronation Street 1960-2010 back in 2010 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the soap.