UK: An order for 20 more Bombardier M5000 high-floor light rail vehicles which will enable the withdrawal of Metrolink's original fleet of Firema T68 cars in 2014 was announced by Transport for Greater Manchester on July 17.

Bombardier and electrical equipment partner Vossloh Kiepe are already supplying 74 M5000 LRVs, including 12 ordered in September 2011 to replace an equivalent number of the 32 T68 cars. According to TfGM, the M5000s are up to four times less likely to develop a disruptive fault than the T68s, and are 10 tonnes lighter.

The latest option takes the total M5000 order to 94 LRVs. 'This decision signals the end of one chapter for Metrolink and the start of a new one', said Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee. 'Our T68 vehicles were the first of their kind in the UK and served the first modern light rail network of its kind in the country. The arrival into service of our first new vehicles in December 2009 demonstrated just how far the industry has come in that time and it is clear that our T68s no longer live up to the standards that passengers expect.'