The T-68 is a type of tram used only on the Manchester Metrolink system in Greater Manchester, England. The trams have unusually high floors, designed to be accessed from standard UK railway platforms: all tram stops on the city streets have been built to a height of 0.9 m, for compatibility with converted railway stations elsewhere on the network. The trams were built by the Italian company Ansaldobredacite web|url=http://www.thetrams.co.uk/metrolink/trams/|title=Metrolink Trams|work=TheTrams.co.uk|accessdate=2008-06-08] .


The T68, the first variant of the T-68 design, was introduced to Manchester in 1991. 25 entered service altogether and were numbered from 1001 to 1025. Soon after, an additional vehicle, 1026, was introduced to simplify scheduling problemsfact|date=June 2008. Three of these trams have been modified for use on the Eccles branch by having retractable couplers fitted. All of these vehicles have been refurbished and had their original white passenger doors repainted to make them more visiblecite web|url=http://www.lrta.org/Manchester/Vehicles.html|title=Metrolink Trams|publisher=Light Rail Transit Association|accessdate=2008-06-08] .


The T68-A is the second variant on the T-68 design. Introduced in 1999, only six T68-As were built, all for use on the Eccles branch. These have a dot-matrix destination display and have retractable couplers which make the trams more suited for street running.

The future

The original 26 T-68s are now over fifteen years old, and the recent refurbishment should keep them serviceable for another decadefact|date=June 2008. The entire T-68 fleet is soon to be complemented by 12 brand new trams that includes 4 new trams for the extension and at least 28 more for the Phase 3a expansions. These will not be a variant of the T-68 design as the GMPTE has opted to purchase Bombardier's Flexity Swift High Floor designcite web|url=http://www.lrta.org/Manchester/veh_new.html|title=New Vehicles for Metrolink|accessdate=2008-06-08|publisher=Light Rail Transit Association] .


External links

* [http://www.thetrams.co.uk/metrolink/trams/ Metrolink Trams at thetrams.co.uk]

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