The first of 27 new Metrolink trams has arrived in Manchester after a 1,800km journey across Europe.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) said the vehicle will now undergo a thorough testing and commissioning process prior to going into service before Christmas.
Additional trams are then set to arrive every 3-4 weeks.
Head of Metrolink Danny Vaughan said: ‘We’ll be able to add extra capacity throughout next year to help with social distancing and make tram travel even safer for passengers, but also long term as we seek to rebuild and encourage people safely back onto the network post pandemic.'
The trams are being funded by the Transforming Cities Fund and were first announced as part of the city-region’s March 2018 Congestion Deal.
The £72m contract with manufacturer Bombardier Transportation UK and Kiepe Electric was signed in July 2018.
Matt Byrne, Bombardier president UK and Ireland, said: ‘I am particularly delighted that the first of our 27 new M5000 trams has now arrived in Manchester to add capacity and help allow for social distancing across the Metrolink network.
‘The new vehicles continue our long-standing relationship with Transport for Greater Manchester, with whom we are working closely to ensure a smooth introduction into passenger service.’
The new vehicle, which is 28.4m long, 2.6m wide and 3.6m tall, is stabled at Metrolink’s Queens Road depot.
The trams are manufactured in Vienna, in a process that utilises 1km of cabling and 3,117 different parts from 128 different suppliers. Each tram requires 3,500 person hours to complete.