A special poppy tram will run on the Metrolink network in Greater Manchester from Wednesday 31 October until Sunday 11 November as part of the Armistice Day commemorations.
Tram 1022 will be decorated with poppies in support of the Royal British Legion’s annual appeal.
It is the fifth consecutive year that Metrolink has decorated a tram in this way, and follows the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee pledging its continued support for the Lancashire Fusiliers by committing to name one of the new M5000 trams after the historic regiment.
That commitment was made in light of the impending retirement of the current Lancashire Fusiliers tram, vehicle 1020, as part of the project to replace all the older Metrolink trams with brand new vehicles by 2014.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “We are pleased to be able to show our support for such an important cause, and as the poppy tram travels across the network, it will be a reminder to people about supporting the appeal.
“Please support the Poppy Appeal and take a few moments to reflect not only on our Armed Forces but on their families and friends as well.
“We are very proud to support them, and have particularly strong links with the Lancashire Fusiliers – as demonstrated by tram 1020 and our commitment to continuing that connection long into the future by naming one of our new trams after the historic regiment.”
The Lancashire Fusiliers were formed on 5 November 1688 and have been involved in the American War of Independence, the Napoleonic Wars and both World Wars.
They were originally called the 20th Foot and changed their name to the 20th Lancashire Fusiliers on 1 July 1881. They merged with three other regiments in 1968 to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
Tony Dale, who works for Metrolink, was a member of the Fusiliers from 1975 to 1987.
Tony said: “The Poppy Appeal is a very worthy cause and helps pay tribute to some of the bravest people this country has seen with every single show of support appreciated.
“This year’s appeal will signal a fond farewell, with tram 1020 moving into retirement like many old soldiers.
“The tram has served us well with many regiment soldiers, even from abroad, sharing their appreciation through our website and by post.
“Metrolink and Transport for Greater Manchester have strong links with the regiment, which will remain with our new Lancashire Fusilier tram taking to the tracks next year.”
On Sunday November 11, there will be changes to some Metrolink services while Remembrance Day commemorations take place; passengers can check the Metrolink website (www.metrolink.com) for more information.
The motion passed by the TfGM Committee states: ‘This Committee, and the former Transport Authority, have long supported the Lancashire Fusiliers, recognising that the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers has served proudly in campaigns dating back to 1674.
“This support is symbolised by the naming of one of Greater Manchester’s Metrolink trams after the regiment.
“As part of the ongoing major investment in the Metrolink network, all of the T68 trams are being replaced with new M5000 vehicles.
“After many years proudly bearing the regiment’s name across the Metrolink network, tram 1020 – ‘The Lancashire Fusiliers’ tram – will be retired from service shortly.
“This Committee, in lending its continued support to the Lancashire Fusiliers, agrees that a new generation tram – 3020 – will be named after the historic Lancashire Fusiliers at a ceremony to be held in the near future.
“This Committee follows the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and individual Greater Manchester local authorities in lending its full backing to the campaign urging the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the General Staff to reconsider their plans to disband Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.”