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Metrolink's first new tram lands in Manchester

The first of Metrolink's brand new trams has arrived at the Manchester Queen's Road depot after a marathon journey from the manufacturing site in Vienna. The new M5000 unit made the final leg of its journey under police escort in the early hours this morning, landing safely at the depot at around 6am.

The new look yellow and silver vehicle is the first of a new generation of tram for the expanding Metrolink network, which is being transformed by a multimillion-pound investment programme. The tram was welcomed at the depot by the Chair of GMITA, Councillor Keith Whitmore. He said: "This is a fantastic day for Metrolink and its thousands of passengers. Our trams have become an icon of Manchester - and this new generation will ensure that legacy continues - but this new tram is also a symbol of a very bright future for Metrolink. "people already make around 20 million journeys on our trams each year but we're currently building four new lines that will double the size of the network by 2012. "Metrolink is only going to keep growing and these new trams will ensure that, when it does, we can continue to provide high quality services fit for the 21st century."

Philip Purdy, GMPTE's Metrolink Director, said: "We've been looking forward to this day and following the new tram's progress very closely. I am really pleased with the result. "The tram will now undergo extensive operational and safety tests and we'll also have to train people how to drive it. The tests will go on through the summer and the autumn before the tram goes into service. "I hope to see it up and running towards the end of the year and I am certain people will be delighted with it when it does."

The M5000 tram, which cost just over GBP2 million, was manufactured by global transport company Bombardier. The same model already runs in several European cities. The new tram left the Bombardier depot in Vienna on the back of an articulated lorry 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. It will now be given a thorough check by Metrolink and Stagecoach officials before taking its first run out on the system and a driver training programme begins.

A total of 40 new trams have been ordered to provide more room on existing services and to cater for passengers on the new lines being built to Oldham and Rochdale, Droylsden in Tameside, Chorlton in South Manchester and MediaCityUK in Salford. The new tram is yellow at the front, and has yellow and silver sides, in line with the new Metrolink identity. The new colours have also been used inside the tram, and full-length glass double doors will make it feel lighter and brighter than the current vehicles.

13 July 2009

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