16 October 2008

New Metrolink design revealed

The new livery to be applied to the Metrolink trams has been revealed. The new design was unveiled on a 1.6 meter model yesterday. The Metrolink was the first of the second-generation tram networks to open in 1992 and had been operated by Serco until earlier this year when Stagecoach took over their operation.

The current livery is a little outdated, it has to be said. Very few public transport operators rely on a livery that's predominately grey with a splash of vomit-green to adorn their vehicles, yet Metrolink does. The trams themselves had been long in need of refurbishment - most of which has now been completed. The new livery will begin to roll-out from next year, in readiness for the expansion the network is set to see, with new lines being built to Oldham and Rochdale, Droylsden, Salford Quays and Chorlton.

The new trams - which will operate on all existing lines as well as the new routes - are being built by Bombardier in partnership with Vossloh Kiepe and are similar to those operating in several European cities, including Cologne, Bonn, Rotterdam and Stockholm.

Up to 200 passengers will be able to travel on each of the new trams and the wide double doors will make it easy for people with wheelchairs or prams to get on and off them. Bombardier is building the trams at its sites in Bautzen in Germany and Vienna in Austria.

The completed network should be open fully by 2012, with the Droylsden section being the final stage for completion.

The new livery was developed by Manchester-based design agency Hemisphere. Grant Windridge, creative director, said: "Our aim has been to create a bright and iconic tram that is easily recognisable on the streets. We chose yellow not just because of its high visibility but also because its traditional association with confidence and optimism echoes Greater Manchester's attitude and values."