Manchester Metrolink has ordered 16 new trams from Bombardier using funds from the government’s Local Growth Fund.

The £34 million order, together with an option order for 10 units placed in late 2013, will give Manchester a fleet of 120 M5000  vehicles by 2017 to serve the city’s growing tram network.

The government announced in August that Manchester Metrolink was to receive £44 million to  improve the network, of which £34 million would finance the procurement of 12 new trams. However, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) said that “favourable exchange rates and buying in bulk” has allowed it to boost that order with a further four new trams.

Councillor Andrew Fender, chairman of the TfGM’s Metrolink committee, said: “As Metrolink expands and grows in popularity we know that our customers want extra services and extra room on trams, and that’s why we are looking to the future and making sure we can meet that demand.

“Our major expansion programme has been a giant leap for Metrolink, and that leap has been matched by the far greater performance and quality of the new M5000 trams compared to the original, now-retired T68 vehicles.”