All the best April Fools have an element of believability: but when we joked that TfGM were sending the original turquoise, grey and white trams to San Fransisco, little did we know that barely six months later there would be an actual move to replace some of these older trams with new ones! So it was on Friday that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority agreed to order 12 additional new trams to replace some of the original T-68 trams that have been in operation since the system opened in 1992.
It’s good news for passengers, as reliability of the T-68s has not been good of late: according to TfGM they are four times more likely to develop a fault in service that will lead to disruption. The new yellow M5000 trams are also 10 tonnes lighter, so ought to cause less wear-and-tear to the track. The new trams should arrive in 2013/2014, but in the meantime the first of the T-68s could be replaced before then by stepping up the introduction of already-delivered new trams. There are 32 of the older trams in service: 26 from the initial Bury and Altrincham lines, plus six newer examples for the Eccles line which entered service in 2000.
What will become of the withdrawn vehicles? With a design life of 30 years, the oldest examples are already two-thirds of the way there. Is there much demand for second-hand trams elsewhere in the world? Will MUNI be on the phone after all, or is it more likely to be the scrap-merchants?
[Image credit: "Greater Manchester Metrolink 1011 Vans. The original since 1966" by Ingy the Wingy on Flickr]