Funding to replace Metros is welcomed by passengers

Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users Group has welcomed planned Government investment in new Metros.
Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users Group has welcomed planned Government investment in new Metros.

Passengers have welcomed news of a £337million investment to replace existing Metro trains.

In last week’s Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced the Government will fund the replacement of the 40-year-old rolling stock on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

Members of the Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users Group have welcomed the news after campaigning for the funding direct from the Government, rather than through Public Finance Initiative.

They say the grant means Nexus can select a supplier to design and build the trains to come into service in 2021.

Vicki Gilbert, chairman of the Tyne and Wear passenger group, said: “It is just a shame that the Government has taken all year to make this decision, and that it has needed huge pressure from campaigners, councils, MPs, unions and business, otherwise we could have had the new trains in 2020.

“The next battle will be to keep the Metro in public hands, as the Government plan to force it to be put out to tender again.”

Alistair Ford, chairman of the Newcastle passenger group, said: “It seems that our demands have finally been listened to.

“The funding will be a direct government grant and not the PFI deal we had feared, which could have delayed the new trains by another two years.

“We’d like to thank everyone who signed our petition and helped put pressure on the government.”

“We will be watching closely to understand the terms of this funding, and to ensure that it is delivered on time to give us the new trains we so desperately need.

“We will also be working with Nexus to ensure that new trains, when they do come, will be the best design for all passengers’ needs and up to the standard we require.”