Work starting this year on building new Metro trains
Work building new Metro trains that are more energy efficient and improve reliability is set to start this year.
It has been one year since Next announced that Stadler were their preferred bidder for the £362million contract to build new trains for Metro, and the first trains will start to be manufactured this year.
The manufacture of the new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro will start in August 2021, and they will be fully delivered by the end of 2024 but are not expected to enter service until July 2023.
The new trains will cut Metro’s high voltage power consumption by 30 per cent while providing 15 times better reliability than the current fleet. Passengers will also benefit from modern features including charging points, air conditioning and improved accessibility.
In addition to the construction of the new fleet, Stadler also have the responsibility for building a new £70million state-of-the-art maintenance depot to service the new trains, replacing the existing 100-year-old depot in Gosforth, Newcastle.
Another new depot, at Howdon, was completed and became fully operational in November 2020 which will be the new home for 10 trains during the demolition and construction of the Gosforth site.
Last September and October, Nexus undertook their largest ever public consultation asking the public for their views on some of the interior details of the new fleet, including seat patterns, grab poles and bike racks, with more than 23,000 responses received and fed into the detailed design work.
Neil Blagburn, Nexus’ Metro Development Director, said: “The fact that almost all of this has been achieved throughout a global pandemic, largely to programme and without any delay to the delivery date of our new fleet next year is extraordinary.
“We’re all prepared for another challenging year and are looking forward to reaching the all-important milestone where we start train manufacturing in August 2021.”
Rob Baxter, managing director of Stadler Rail Service UK, added: “Just 12 months since Nexus named Stadler the preferred bidder for the project, so much has been accomplished and so many milestones have been reached, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
"We look forward to new trains entering passenger service within a couple of years.”