M5000: tram No 3070 arrives at Exchange Square adjacent to the entrance to Manchester’s iconic Arndale Centre on the Second City Crossing route on 26 February 2017.
Tony Miles

TRANSPORT FOR Greater Manchester is proposing to purchase up to 27 more Bombardier M5000 trams for the Manchester Metrolink.

The move, part of Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s Congestion Deal plan, would primarily be funded through the Government’s Transforming Cities fund. The current Metrolink fleet comprises 120 M5000 trams, of which 108 are required to operate the standard weekday service.

Ten trams will be required to operate the new Trafford Park line, due to open in winter 2020, while a further two may be needed to extend the MediaCity to Etihad service to Ashton this summer. Without additional stock, this would mean reducing line capacity elsewhere on the network. TfGM has proposed two alternative procurement options, both of which include an option for three trams to operate a potential extension to Terminal 2 at Manchester Airport.

The first sees a total of 15 trams acquired, with 12 to cover for the enhancements stated above, while a second option for a total of 27 new trams would also allow all Bury and Altrincham services to be doubled and to increase the proportion of double trams on the East Didsbury to Shaw service. The procurement would involve varying the existing Tram Supply Agreement with Bombardier to order additional M5000 vehicles.


Bombardier has agreed to commit to maintain current pricing if an order is placed before 30 June 2018, although this may change if changes in specification are required as a result of recommendations arising from the Croydon tram incident. Purchasing 27 trams rather than 15 will also attract a 3% discount on the price per vehicle, although any exchange rate changes or tariff changes as a result of Brexit could see the agreed price increasing.

The estimated capital cost is around L100 million for up to 27 trams and L42 million for up to 15 trams. The larger order would require supporting infrastructure enhancements, including additional depot stabling and power infrastructure. TfGM proposes to draw down L83 million and L40 million respectively from its L243 million Transforming Cities fund for each option, with the balance made up by a combination of borrowings supported by long-term net revenues.

The remaining L160 million of the Transforming Cities funding is proposed to be spent on cycling and walking infrastructure, again as part of the Congestion Deal plan. A decision from the Department for Transport (DfT) as regards the proposed Manchester Airport T2 extension is thought to be imminent. Tony Miles