The first of 27 new Metrolink trams is set to arrive next week, as transport bosses bid to boost capacity on the network and provide more space for passengers to socially distance.
Transport for Greater Manchester say that once testing and commissioning is complete, the first tram will be put into service before Christmas.
There will then be further trams set to arrive every three to four weeks after that, they added.
Each new tram will be the M5000 model – the same as the existing fleet – and, once tested and commissioned, the new arrivals will increase capacity on the network by 15 per cent, enabling Metrolink to run more double trams for customers.
One of the new trams
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Public safety has, and will remain, my absolute priority as we continue to navigate our way out of this pandemic – and these new trams will be vital to helping us provide more capacity on Metrolink when we come out of lockdown and once again focus on building back better from this virus.
“We know concerns over using public transport – including social distancing – can be a real barrier that prevents people from travelling, and measures like this will help restore and build confidence in our networks.
“With infection rates across Greater Manchester still high it's important that we continue to work together to stop the spread so, if you must use public transport, please remember the basic rules – wear a face covering and sanitise your hands when using our buses, trains and trams.”
The new trams are being funded by the Transforming Cities Fund, and were first announced as part of the Congestion Deal in March 2018, the city-region’s approach for tackling congestion by improving public transport and providing a genuine alternative to driving.
The £72 million contract with manufacturer Bombardier Transportation UK and Kiepe Electric was signed in July 2018.
From today (Thursday 5 November), as the nation starts a four-week lockdown, people are being told to follow the latest government coronavirus regulations and guidance to avoid travelling and stay at home.
People can still travel for legally permitted reasons including work, education, caring, medical reasons; visiting shops and other venues that are open and exercise.
For information on public transport across Greater Manchester, visit www.tfgm.com, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.