The trams will be built by global transport company Bombardier in partnership with Vossloh Kiepe and are costing just over £2 million each. The new model of tram already operates in several European cities, including Cologne and Bonn.
Philip Purdy, GMPTE’s Metrolink Director, said: “We’re expecting passengers to make more than 90,000 journeys on the Metrolink network every day when the extensions open so we’ll need lots of extra trams. We’ve got a construction team in place to build the three new lines, and I’m pleased we’ve now reached the stage where we can place an order for new state-of-the-art trams to run on them. I’m looking forward to seeing the new model of tram become a familiar sight across Greater Manchester.”
Last week, GMPTE appointed the M-Pact Thales consortium to design, build and maintain the new Metrolink lines. Construction work is due to start early next year and the lines are expected to begin opening from spring 2011 onwards.
GMPTE ordered 12 new trams from Bombardier last year to relieve overcrowding on the existing Metrolink network, and provide a new service to MediaCity:UK in Salford Quays. The latest order will take the total number of trams on the Metrolink network to 72. Up to 200 passengers will be able to travel on each of the new trams, and wide double doors will make it easy for people with wheelchairs or child buggies to get on and off them. Bombardier will design and manufacture the trams at its sites in Bautzen in Germany and Vienna in Austria.