opened in 1992 with a 19-mile route that ran from Bury to Altrincham via
Manchester city centre using former railway lines inherited from British
Rail. In view of this all stops were
constructed to mainline railway platform height. Initially there was some 3km of street
running from Victoria station to Piccadilly station, but this has now been
extended as the system has developed.
Major extensions to the network began in 2009 and by 2014 the trams also
serve Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, East Didsbury and Eccles. The original trams for the Metrolink
system were 26 Firema
two-section, articulated bi-directional trams, built in Italy, known as the
‘T68’. In 1999 when the extension to
Eccles was built these were augmented by a further batch of six trams built by Firema/Ansaldo of
Italy looking similar to the first batch, but known as the ‘T68A’. As the system grew, further trams were
needed, and an initial order for eight trams was placed with Bombardier, but
with service expansion this was increased to 104 trams. These trams are known as the M5000, again a
2-section bi-directional car manufactured by Bombardier in either Bautzen,
Germany or at their factory in Vienna.
programme starts with a brief look in still pictures of the original T68s in
their first few months of service at Victoria.
We then move to some archive video taken in 1993 through the camera of
Malcolm King featuring the T68s in service in central Manchester around
Piccadilly Gardens. It shows off their
original livery that featured less aquamarine, as later repaints incorporated
an aquamarine roofline stripe and doors.
We then see some further stills taken in 2012 of the new M5000 trams
alongside the T68s and T68As. The next
section was filmed by our own cameras in December 2013 in and around Piccadilly
Gardens where we see plenty of action that includes T68, 1012 + 1022. 1012 was withdrawn a few days after filming
with 1022 running on until February 2014 when that to was withdrawn. Our cameras also visit Corporation Street,
High Street, Aytoun
Street and Shudehill. The main section of our programme was filmed
in March 2014, where we cover some of the 2013 locations as well as Mosley
Street, St Peter’s Square, Lower Mosley Street, Cornbrook, MediaCityUK and
Broadway. We then travel on tram 3063 to
Eccles and do further filming at Salford Quays before returning to the city
centre for more action. Look out for a
future release from independent transport videos which
will feature yet more from this growing system.
|| 63 minutes (approx).
|| Within UK - £16
|| Rest of world -
|| DVD -R
|| Picture Aspect 16:9