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Hot new hardware for city streets

Confidential has a ride on a new tram and loves the look

Published on January 7th 2010.

Hot new hardware for city streets

So Confidential waited for the tram at Trafford Bar today. And instead of a two decade old dated grubby white charabanc of a conveyance he got a bright, new yellow love machine. A fine looking tram – one of forty new babes – being put through its paces.

The new trams are called Flexity Swift and manufactured by Bombardier Transportation. It's nice to have trams with a porn-star name, but it's sad that Manchester, one of the pioneering train manufacturing centres back in the day, should have its new vehicles built in foreign lands, namely Germany.

The tram was beautiful on the outside in its warm yellow livery. It was utterly overcrowded on the inside. 'The more things change the more things stay the same,' as the poet says. Although to be fair there was a limited service due to the ice and so people were cramming on the trams.

On a transport website the spec given for the new vehicles is: 'Each tram is 28.4m long, and has 52 standard seats with a further 8 'perch' seats. At a standard 4 persons per square metre, there will be space for 146 standing passengers, giving each tram a total peak capacity of 206.'

Metrolink say: 'The introduction of the new trams meanspassengers will experience quieter,smoother journeys, less crowding atpeak times and a more reliable service. They bring a hostof other new features such as: a lighter, brighter and roomier interior, extra legroom for seated passengers, better handrails for standing passengers, wider doorways, two multi-purpose areas for wheelchairs and prams and clearer information displays'.

The new trams are called Flexity Swift and manufactured by Bombardier Transportation. It's nice to have trams with a porn-star name, but it's sad that Manchester, one of the pioneering train manufacturing centres back in the day, should have its new vehicles built in foreign lands, namely Germany and Austria.

The new trams are part of the £600 million upgrade of the network also featuring station improvements and new ticketing machines plus the doubling in size of the system with almost 20 miles of new track and 27 new stops.

New lines will begin running to:

  • MediaCityUK in summer 2010
  • Chorlton in spring 2011
  • Central Park in spring 2011
  • Oldham Mumps in autumn 2011
  • Rochdale in spring 2012
  • Droylsden in spring 2012.

As an afterword it was a shame in a way that malfunctioning doors broke Flexity down at Cornbrook Station for five minutes. But hey let's be nice, let's put it down to teething problems. Certainly Ms Swift will look prettier gliding through our streets than those old snub-nosed has-beens.

We've even got a video of the tram at Manchester Central below. If there's one criticism though, we're not sure that the frog being strangled horn works.

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

pedantJanuary 7th 2010.

There's no way for the trams to be 'on-time' when there's no specified timetable...

AllemandJanuary 7th 2010.

Vorsprung durch Technik, mate!

Knocker RileyJanuary 7th 2010.

Why the need for seats?Im surprised some bright spark hasnt taken to designing hand rails on the outside of the tram so we can hang on there during rush hour.More passsenger mileage accounted for at very little cost?Not built in Britain?I am not surprised. This beleagured isle we live on produces nothing but woe anyway.The do look nice though and the thought of riding on a 'porn star' named tram is all rather fun.It also looks like it runs in the snow too.Thats an added bonus, as nothing else in Britain seems to!

R SisataJanuary 7th 2010.

Knocker, cheer up. I just drove to Penrith up the motorway and had a wonderful meal in a lovely pub. Britain's great, learn to enjoy rather than win, or live elsewhere and see if everything happens like clockwork - even in Switzerland.

R SisataJanuary 7th 2010.

Hey Confidential. Why not take Allemand up and visit Germany and see if all the services are better. I doubt that will be the case.

AllemandJanuary 7th 2010.

R Sisata, you need to get out more. It is a fact that public transport in the UK is easily the worst in Europe. Yes, I include countries like Romania or Portugal... never mind Germany! Have a look mercedes-benz-blog.blogspot.com/…/mercedes.html…

Tram travellerJanuary 7th 2010.

Pedant you've lost your way. The trams should be every six minutes, if they are every six minutes at a given station they are on time. Allemand don't be silly.

AllemandJanuary 7th 2010.

Can't beat 'em, the Brits. Brilliant, no time table! Just like the buses in the pre-Commonwealth Games era...

TRam travellerJanuary 7th 2010.

Just be on time. That's all we want.

DrakeJanuary 7th 2010.

They look gorgeous and love the nods towards New York. But where are the seats? Lots more room to stand, which might be needed given there's nowhere to sit down

JanineJanuary 7th 2010.

Why do the new ticket machines work just as badly as the old ones? I've just tried paying on 3 different ones. The first thought I was trying to press the 'A' button when I wanted 'B'. The second machine wouldn't even let me get to the destinstion screen. I though I was getting somewhere with the third machine until it spat out my coins, despite me putting them in slowly enough. I finally paid by card and luckily got on the arriving tram with seconds to spare. It was fortunate there were no queues on that occasion. I thought these were supposed to be state of the art, or at the very least work properly.

AnonymousJanuary 27th 2010.

Yellow fever stalks the streets

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