First Metrolink T68 withdrawn today...

Status
Not open for further replies.

Mattmatt

Member
Joined
25 Sep 2011
Messages
173
Location
Neither here, nor there, but somewhere in-between!
Taken from Trams today on Facebook, i thought people might like to read it. They offer some great info on trams etc. The people who write this blog knows their stuff.

First ever second generation tram is withdrawn

In 1992 a new era for tramways in Britain began following the launch of Manchester Metrolink, the first wholly new tramway to be constructed for generations and the beginning of the light rail era. Twenty six trams were constructed to operate the initial network, built by Ansaldo-Firema in Italy and known as the T68s. Numbered 1001-1026, these trams heralded a radical departure from the conventional view of a tramcar and became the pioneers of the second generation trams which now operate in other towns and cities across the country.
After twenty years, in which the technology and sophistication of new trams has evolved, the T68 now look increasingly old fashioned when set against the new M5000s being introduced to Manchester, as well as other designs such as the Variotram in Croydon and the Flexity in Blackpool. Increasingly worn and becoming more unreliable, the T68s have become something of an unwanted embarrassment to Manchester, being largely responsible for the frequent breakdowns and disruptions which have plagued the system in recent months and, with the increase in the order for new M5000 trams, it had long been known that the plan was to phase out the older rolling stock.
Now, after two decades of faithful service, the first T68 has been withdrawn, becoming the very first second generation tram ever to suffer this fate. Sensibly Metrolink have carried out an assessment of each of the T68s to determine which are in the worst condition, with a hit list drawn up of trams which need to be withdrawn as a priority. Therefore, the axe will not fall on the trams in numerical order and it is 1011 which has been given the dubious honour of being the first casualty. The demise of this particular tram has been mooted several times over the last few weeks, with at least three withdrawal dates having been suggested but 1011 continued in use until April 18th when its luck finally ran out. After operating as a coupled pair with 1004, 1011 was unceremoniously returned to Queens Road depot where, it is believed, stripping of the car has already commenced, ruling out a last minute reprieve. Parts from the tram will now be salvaged to help keep the other T68s on the road and its ATS equipment will be fitted to a M5000 tram to allow it to be activated from store and launched into service after which it is expected that the remains of 1011 will be scrapped, an inauspicious end to this particular tram.
The loss of 1011 is not expected to be an isolated occurrence with several other members of the class already on the hit list for withdrawal. Amongst those believed to be in the worst condition are 1004, 1007 and 1019 and any of these three could follow in the footsteps of 1011 and be withdrawn shortly, as the run down of the original fleet accelerates. In order to compensate for the withdrawal of 1011, further M5000 trams have now started to be fitted with the ATS equipment necessary for them to work with the current signalling system. The most recent addition to the operating fleet has been 3022, which now joins 3001-3021 and 3024 in service, with 3025 expected to follow shortly.
When first delivered it was expected that the T68s would have a lifespan of at least thirty years but they have fallen a decade short of this. With Metrolink officially opening on April 6th 1992, 1011 has managed to survive for exactly twenty years and 12 days! Although the T68s are not expected to disappear completely from the streets of Manchester, with several examples being kept indefinitely and the possibility that those in the best condition will join 1003 in receiving the new yellow and silver livery, the demise of 1011 inevitably raises speculation about the ultimate preservation of one of these trams. Several members of the class have notched up notable achievements in the lifetime which adds weight to their selection for survival. 1001 is important as it represents the very first second generation tram ever constructed for operation in Britain, 1005 was the first tram to operate under its own power in Manchester, when operating on a test run prior to the system opening, 1012 was the tram which launched passenger services on the network, 1010 was chosen to convoy the Queen when she officially opened the system whilst 1004 and 1008 were the first to run as a couple pair. 1015 achieved notoriety in 2010 when it was chosen to play a starring role in Coronation Street, being the tram which plunged off a viaduct, killing several members of the cast. 1007 has probably the greatest claim to fame as it was this tram which carried passengers through the streets of Manchester for the first time since the original system closed in 1949. With a sense of history, 1007 was chosen as the number of the tram which officially ended Manchester’s first tram system was also numbered 1007.
However, it is not certain as to whether a T68 will actually be preserved as their length may be a deterrent to museums. Crich would be the logical place to display one of these trams but, with the recent rejection of a Blackpool Twin Set and Centenary Car due to lack of space, it is unlikely that they would be in a position to accommodate a T68. Hopefully, one example at least will be selected for continued survival, possibly in Boyle Street Transport Museum or maybe, one day, there will be the possibility of a ride on a T68 through Manchester’s Heaton Park.

www.facebook.com/pages/Trams-Today/144002195699684
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Class377/5

Established Member
Joined
19 Jun 2010
Messages
5,594
Nice if they had actually kept an eye on the M5000. It's been running around for a week now. I personally was on it yesterday!

Sad to see the trams going but the future is coming.

With 12 T68's being withdrawn by November this year and equipment going to M5000 and a further 13 M5000 getting the old signalling system means we will soon have close to 40 M5000's running around!
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
With 12 T68's being withdrawn by November this year and equipment going to M5000 and a further 13 M5000 getting the old signalling system means we will soon have close to 40 M5000's running around!

Which means they really need to short out the timing issues with M5000s running on the Altrincham line and look at them running in multiple on Altrincham-Bury through services, which Metrolink claimed would be be all pairs of T68s once the M5000s were introduced but that never properly materialised.
 

Samtron2000

Member
Joined
10 May 2011
Messages
81
Which means they really need to short out the timing issues with M5000s running on the Altrincham line and look at them running in multiple on Altrincham-Bury through services, which Metrolink claimed would be be all pairs of T68s once the M5000s were introduced but that never properly materialised.

M5000 can't run as doubles in service until Mosley St goes and that will remain until TMS works!
 

WatcherZero

Established Member
Joined
25 Feb 2010
Messages
9,450
Which means they really need to short out the timing issues with M5000s running on the Altrincham line and look at them running in multiple on Altrincham-Bury through services, which Metrolink claimed would be be all pairs of T68s once the M5000s were introduced but that never properly materialised.

7/9 services are doubles in the morning peak they then gradually become singles mid morning with a few continuing all day before they become doubles again in the evening peak.
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
7/9 services are doubles in the morning peak they then gradually become singles mid morning with a few continuing all day before they become doubles again in the evening peak.

From my experience there's as many doubled up T68s in the evening peaks on Altrincham-Bury services as single M5000s.
 

The Colonel

Member
Joined
1 Feb 2011
Messages
259
Any news on 1004 would be appreciated as its the last one I need. Do the T68's run over the whole system still or are they on one particular service?
Looks like my next free rest day could involve a trip to Manchester . . .

The Colonel
 

martin2345uk

Established Member
Joined
21 Sep 2011
Messages
1,541
Location
Essex
Any news on 1004 would be appreciated as its the last one I need. Do the T68's run over the whole system still or are they on one particular service?
Looks like my next free rest day could involve a trip to Manchester . . .

The Colonel

They run over the whole current network but are rarely seen on the south Manchester line.
 

Class377/5

Established Member
Joined
19 Jun 2010
Messages
5,594
I realise that. They need to get TMS working ASAP if there are less T68s around.

Well Thales need to get it working. Metrolink/TfGM is looking at alternate solutions.

Any news on 1004 would be appreciated as its the last one I need. Do the T68's run over the whole system still or are they on one particular service?
Looks like my next free rest day could involve a trip to Manchester . . .

The Colonel

1004 was out last week. It's not going o be a quick progress but the longer you leave it. I managed to get a shot of every T68 bar 1011!
 

Samtron2000

Member
Joined
10 May 2011
Messages
81
Well Thales need to get it working. Metrolink/TfGM is looking at alternate solutions.

Indeed! From what I've heard from a contact at work, TfGM have issued an ultimatum to Thales! I'm not sure what times limit has been imposed, but my contact seems to think that a set time limit has been issued, by which the Oldham line MUST be open!!!
 

Class377/5

Established Member
Joined
19 Jun 2010
Messages
5,594
Indeed! From what I've heard from a contact at work, TfGM have issued an ultimatum to Thales! I'm not sure what times limit has been imposed, but my contact seems to think that a set time limit has been issued, by which the Oldham line MUST be open!!!

Oldham now doesn't need TMS to open. In fact rumour is it'll be handed over Tuesday.

TfGM have got an alternate soluation as the current set up cannot continue as its affecting income as Oldham should be open along with the East Manchester line tas far as Velopark.

TfGM has already sated it's giving Thales bit more time before going to work out an alternative soluation.
 

Nym

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
8,406
Location
Somewhere, not in London
Not much more I'd hope, Thales have failed end to end on this, and they've been recruiting in desperation to get this issue sorted, it seems they just don't have the skills to do it in house properly.

Perhaps a phone call to Network Rail to piggyback atop of GSM-R and run Metrolink on ERTMS would be in place? I don't think theres many parts of the Metrolink Network without GSM-R coverage if not GSM...?
 

Class377/5

Established Member
Joined
19 Jun 2010
Messages
5,594
Not much more I'd hope, Thales have failed end to end on this, and they've been recruiting in desperation to get this issue sorted, it seems they just don't have the skills to do it in house properly.

Perhaps a phone call to Network Rail to piggyback atop of GSM-R and run Metrolink on ERTMS would be in place? I don't think theres many parts of the Metrolink Network without GSM-R coverage if not GSM...?

ERTMS isn't suitable for street running. However mix GSM-R with some GPS and you can have a working system. Just have to have signals protecting junctions however.

Most of Metrolink is above so there shouldn't be any issues with getting GSM-R and few places it'd be n issue you can install transmitters to be sure.
 

Nym

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
8,406
Location
Somewhere, not in London
Well, I could knock together a working architecture in a couple of weeks, so Thales missed out when they chose not employ me...

architecture != working system...!

GSM-R, plus localised balizes, plus GPS, plus signalised junction control systems, plus a few other things.
 

WatcherZero

Established Member
Joined
25 Feb 2010
Messages
9,450
Theyve been doing it through Wi-Fi with their own private trunk fibre optic network laid alongside (also used for TVM's andfuture PID/station announcements, at the moment the passenger announcements are through a phone system where they dial upto 12 stations at a time with the lengh of message that can be played inversely proportional to the number dialed) that they lease extra capacity on back to the phone companies. Was some early problems with loss of signal but most of the later problems have been failed axle detection and the software crashing. Theyve been piggy backing the expanded network onto the older signalling computers so its not really surprising. Hopefully when the new control centre is commisioned it will be a lot more robust.

From what ive read the decomissioning of T68's is to be finished in November so thats just over one a fortnight retirement rate.
 

Samtron2000

Member
Joined
10 May 2011
Messages
81
Which option is cheaper

Demolishing the platform at Mosley Street or building it all up to the same level?

Cost isn't the issue though. It's believed Mosley Street will cause trams to back up through the delta when the extensions finally open!
 

The Colonel

Member
Joined
1 Feb 2011
Messages
259
Any news on 1004 would be appreciated as its the last one I need. Do the T68's run over the whole system still or are they on one particular service?
Looks like my next free rest day could involve a trip to Manchester . . .

The Colonel

Am going up to Manchester on Monday after 1004 so any sightings/gen gratefully received.

The Colonel

The good news is I saw it on Monday working a Bury - Altrincham service, so am happy. Also did the new track to St Werburgh's Road & Media City.
 
Last edited:

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
Another one failed at Ladywell (well I'm assuming it's a T68 and not a M5000 - not actually seen it myself) and has been causing disruption on the Eccles line for most of today.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top