Bombardier M5000

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The Bombardier M5000 is a model of light rail passenger vehicle. It is part of Bombardier Transportation's Flexity Swift range of vehicles, built specifically as a high-floor, articulated bi-directional tram to operate solely on the Manchester Metrolink system in England. The Metrolink system is the only tram network in the United Kingdom capable of running vehicles in multiple and subsequently the M5000s can operate as either a single vehicle or coupled together to form a "double" unit.

Bombardier M5000 Flexity Swift
Coupled M5000 trams approaching Holt Town.jpg
M5000s 3120 and 3085 near Holt Town
Interior of M5000 tram.jpg
In service2009 – present
ManufacturerBombardier Transportation and Vossloh Kiepe
Built atBautzen, Germany
Vienna, Austria
Assembly and testing
Family nameFlexity Swift
Number built120 (27 on order)
Number in service120
Formationsingles or pairs
Fleet numbers3001–3120
Capacity52/8 or 60/6 seats, 146 standing per vehicle
Line(s) servedAll Metrolink lines
Car body constructionAluminium
Car length28.4 m (93 ft 2 18 in)
Width2.65 m (8 ft 8 38 in)
Height3.67 m (12 ft 12 in)
Articulated sections1
Maximum speed50 mph (80 km/h)
Weight39.7 t (39.1 long tons; 43.8 short tons) per vehicle
Traction motors4x 120 kW (160 hp) Traktionssysteme Austria 3-phase AC motors
Electric system(s)750 V DC OHLE
Current collection methodPantograph
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The first M5000 entered service on 21 December 2009. Following the withdrawal of the last T-68 and T-68A trams in May 2014, the M5000s have operated all Metrolink services.[1]


In April 2007, eight Flexity Swift trams were ordered by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, now Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), for Metrolink; these were intended to supplement the existing T-68/A fleet and increase capacity on the Bury-Altrincham line, which was suffering from overcrowding. Based on the K5000 design used in the German cities of Cologne and Bonn, these were designated the M5000. On 13 July 2009, the first M5000 (numbered 3001) was delivered to Manchester.[2][3] The M5000s were built by Bombardier Transportation factories in Bautzen, Germany and tested at their facility in Vienna, Austria,[4] with all electrical equipment supplied by Vossloh Kiepe of Werdohl, Germany.[5] Unlike the previous T-68/A trams, the M5000's lacked retractable steps, as the low-height platforms on several of the stops in central Manchester were either raised or removed to create an entirely high-floor network.[3]

A further four were ordered in November 2007 (Nos. 3009-3012) to allow for a new 12-minute service between Cornbrook and the new MediaCityUK extension in Salford Quays.[6] Another 28 were then ordered (Nos. 3013-3040) to complete the tram order for the Phase 3A expansion of the network. After funding had been secured for the Phase 3B expansion of the network, another 22 M5000s were ordered (Nos. 3041-3062).[2]

Meanwhile, the M5000 trams were proving to be considerably more reliable than the older T-68/A fleet, which were found to be in need of expensive overhauls to keep them in service. In 2011, TfGM decided it would be more cost effective to replace the entire 32 strong T-68/A fleet with M5000s than to overhaul them, and so 32 more M5000s were ordered in two batches of 12 and then 20 (Nos. 3063-3094) in order to replace them.[2]

In 2013, ten more trams were ordered in anticipation of the Trafford Park Line before the production line closed.[7][8] In September 2014, TfGM ordered a further 16, bringing the total number of units ordered to 120.[9][10][11][12] The last was delivered in October 2016.[13] In July 2018, a further 27 were ordered to help relieve overcrowding. These are to be delivered in 2020/21.[14][15]

Ordered units
Batch Number Ordered for
2007 April 8 Capacity enhancement
2007 Nov. 4 Media City Branch
2008 28 Oldham, Rochdale,

Droylsden & Chorlton

2010 March 8 Ashton & Didsbury
2010 Aug. 14 Manchester Airport
2011 12 Replacement for T68s
2012 20 Replacement for T68s
2013 10 Trafford Park
2014 16 Capacity enhancement
2018 27 Capacity enhancement

(replacement for Trafford Park)


Each vehicle is 28.4 metres (93 ft) long and has three bogies, the outer two of which are powered, while the unpowered central bogie supports the articulation gangway. Numbers 3001 to 3074 have 52 standard seats with a further 8 "perch" seats, while numbers 3075 upwards have 60 standard seats and 6 perch seats. On numbers 3001 to 3074 there are two wheelchair spaces, one in each half of the tram; which increased to four spaces for numbers 3075 upwards. At a standard 4 persons per square metre there is space for 146 standing passengers, giving each vehicle a total peak capacity of 206 passengers.[16] The M5000 can be operated as single vehicles or in pairs, the latter providing capacity for over 400 passengers at any one time. The trams are equipped with a passenger information system to deliver timely and relevant travelling information using Mitrac's propulsion system.

In serviceEdit

Two M5000s operating in pairs on the East Manchester Line

The M5000s operate all Metrolink services. They operate both singularly and in pairs, denoted by dbl for pairs on passenger information displays. Multiple M5000s are able to be coupled and operate as triple and quadruple units however this only happens in case of emergency such as a tram unit breaking down.[17]

The first 60 (3001-60) are fitted with automatic tram stop and vehicle recognition equipment and can be used anywhere on the Metrolink network. The last 60 (3061-120) are not fitted with this equipment and can only be used on services to Ashton-under-Lyne, Eccles & MediaCityUK, East Didsbury, Manchester Airport, Bury and Rochdale. In the winter, vehicles can be fitted with special ice-breaker pantographs and run across the network over night to remove ice from the overhead lines and keep it from re-forming to an extent that might disrupt the first trams of the day.

Like their predecessors, the M5000s are fitted with electronic whistles. The frequent 'toot' sounds are a recognisable symbol of the Metrolink network and common background noise in Manchester City Centre.[18]


  1. ^ "A new generation of trams for Greater Manchester". Metrolink. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Next stop for Metrolink". Rail Magazine. 11 March 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b "First Manchester M5000 tram delivered". Railway Gazette. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Metrolink's first new tram lands in Manchester". GMPTE. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2010.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Manchester: high-floor M5000 light rail vehicles". Vossloh Kiepe. 10 October 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  6. ^ "More trams for Manchester" Rail Magazine issue 581 19 December 2007 page 18
  7. ^ "Bombardier to Supply 10 Additional Light Rail Vehicles to Manchester Metrolink in the UK". Manchester: Marketwired=. 20 December 2013. Archived from the original on 23 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  8. ^ TfGM backs Manchester tram-train proposals Railway Gazette International 11 November 2013
  9. ^ Thompson, Dan (7 July 2014). "5,000 jobs on the way in £470m bonanza". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Metrolink investment confirmed" Tramways & Urban Transit issue 921 September 2014 page 360
  11. ^ "Sixteen more trams for Metrolink to cater for expected growth" Rail Magazine issue 757 17 September 2014 page 27
  12. ^ UK's Transport for Greater Manchester orders 16 new Bombardier trams 18 September 2014
  13. ^ Metrolink's 120th tram gears up for service Metrolink 19 October 2016
  14. ^ "Transport bosses sign £72m deal to buy 27 new trams". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Evolving the M5000". Tramways & Urban Transit. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Bombardier M5000, New Vehicles for Metrolink". Light Rail Transit Association. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  17. ^ "In Pictures: Triple M5000 on Metrolink". British Trams Online. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  18. ^ Mountford, Emma (28 January 2016). "Things you only know if you travel on the Metrolink". men. Retrieved 5 March 2019.

External linksEdit