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Bombardier M5000, New Vehicles for Metrolink

Bombardier is supplying TfGM (formerly GMPTE) with 120 FLEXITY Swift M5000 light rail vehicles by 2017. The order was placed in stages; initially 8 for phase 1 & 2 upgrades, 4 for Cornbrook — MediaCityUK, 28 for the Phase 3a extensions, 8 for Ashton & Didsbury accelerated extensions, 12 for the Airport line, 2 for Oldham & Rochdale town centre lines. To replace the T68 and T68a fleet; first 12 and then a further 20 were ordered. Ten more have been ordered for the Trafford line. Cash from the government’s Local Growth Fund has enabled a further 16 to be ordered, they will be used to provide extra capacity on the expanded tram network.

Facts & Figures
Track Gauge 1.435 metre
Length of Tram 28.4m over body
Width of Tram 2.65m over body
Entrance height
above rail level
955mm empty vehicle with new wheels
899 mm loaded vehicle worn wheels
Floor height 980mm above rail level
Wheel diameter 660 mm (new) 580 (worn)
Height of Tram 3.67m
Contact Wire Height3.8m minimum — 7.01m maximum
Weight 39.7 tonnes empty
Doorways 4 per side
Doorway width 1.3m
Nominal platform gap 40 mm
Outer powered bogies have 2 by 120 kW, three–phase ac motors
Maximum speed (off-highway) 80km/h (50mph)
Maximum speed (street running) 48km/h (30mph)
Acceleration medium, (fully loaded) 1.08 m/s/s
Braking (normal) 1.03m/s/s
Braking (emergency) 2.54m/s/s
Maximum gradient 6.5%
Minimum curve radius 25m
Voltage 750V dc

After manufacture and testing in Vienna, they are delivered to Manchester on the back of an articulated lorry.

3001, the first new tram, arrived at the Metrolink Queens Road depot on Monday 13 July 2009 at around 6 am, having made the final leg of its journey under police escort. It left the Vienna Bombardier depot in the early hours of Thursday and travelled almost 1,000 miles as it made its way through Germany, the Netherlands and Rotterdam before landing at the Port of Hull on Sunday.

Trams go through rigourous testing on the Metrolink system to make sure they meets safety regulations. Following testing the driver training programme started. The first of the new trams went into service on 16 December between Piccadilly and Eccles. There was an official launch event on 21 December 2009.


Numbered 3001 upwards they are double ended, articulated units. The Metrolink colour scheme with yellow ends and yellow and silver sides is used, these colours are also used inside the trams. There are two wheelchair or child buggy spaces. Four 1.3 metre wide full–length glass double doors on both sides will make them feel lighter and brighter.

Each tram has three bogies, the two outer bogies are powered. The unmotored centre bogie supports the articulation gangway. Powered bogies each have two three–phase ac 120 kW motors. Electrical regenerative braking and mechanical disc brakes are provided. For emergency use there are 6 magnetic track brakes.


The first 74 units have 52 seats plus 8 perch seats; with 146 standing passengers at 4 per square metre.

Based on customer feedback obtained from the TfGM survey in late 2011, the seat layout has been modified for further units, 3075 onwards, to accommodate 8 additional seats. These modifications were developed in consultation with the Disability Reference Group.

The following description is for units up to 3074.

A passenger stood in the centre articulation can see the same layout when looking towards either driver’s cab. There is a perch seat on both sides of the articulation.

Between articulation and centre door lobby there is a single seat on the left and a double seat on the right facing the driver’s cab.

Between centre and outer door lobbies there are; on the left, two single seats then two pairs of double seats facing towards the driver’s cab; on the right is a wheelchair space which also has 3 perch seats, then there are two aisle facing seats. This layout gives room for chair users to turn round.

Between the outer door lobby and driver’s cab; on both left and right sides are two rows of double seats looking towards the articulation. Then facing the cab is a row of two double seats followed by a double seat on the left and a single seat on the right. This allows space for the driver’s cab door. Tinted glass in the window and door allow clear through the cab views.

Door lobbies have a darker floor surface which rises slightly from door sill to centre aisle. A yellow centre grab pole is positioned in the middle of the door lobbies, there is space for wheelchair users to pass.

Pictures are now in the new trams photo gallery.

Bombardier M5000: top of page

This page was written by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association. Contact if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.