Nexus, the owners and operators of Tyne and Wear Metro, have announced that they have increased an order for almost 50 brand new units from railway rolling stock manufacturer Stadler.
Early this year, Nexus and manufacturer Stadler, based in Switzerland, accepted a deal which will see 42 brand new trains enter service in 2023.
The deal is the start of a £362 million scheme that will improve passenger experience on Tyne and Wear Metro train services. Each unit should be more comfortable and reliable all round.
The construction process is in the early stages, where Stadler is currently sourcing the many components which made up each unit, with parts coming from manufacturers in North East of England, the wider UK and Europe.
Late 2021 is the planned start date for building the first batch of units. Once delivery commences in 2022, testing will begin before formal hand over for revenue earning services. Stadler will also be responsible for servicing and maintenance of the units for 35 years.
Since the order was placed, Nexus has benefited from the Transforming Cities Fund, a Government programme, supporting Metro’s Flow Programme. As the name suggests, the funds will be used towards projects adding more seats per route, shorten journey times and increase reliability. Part of this project will mean alterations made to the track between Pelaw and South Shields, which will allow more trains to operate, work is due to start next year. The funding has also allowed Nexus to extend the order for 42 units from Stadler by ordering 4 more, taking the total to 46.
Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, John Fenwick, said: “I’m delighted to confirm that we have been able to order four extra new Metro trains on top of the 42 which are already on order, and that Stadler has now started the manufacturing process.
“Securing the funding to order these additional trains is the culmination of an enormous amount of work in successfully making the case for the Metro Flow project, which is a key tenet of our recovery plan as we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The additional trains are required so that we can enhance the Metro timetable, delivering a more frequent and reliable service for our customers.
“The start of the manufacturing process is an exciting moment in the countdown to the new Metro trains, which are going to transform the journey experience for our customers.”
Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, Councillor Martin Gannon said: “I’m thrilled with the announcement that an additional four new Metro trains have been secured through the Transforming Cities Fund which is administered in our region by the North East Joint Transport Committee. This is more great news for passengers and these new trains will offer an even better experience for passengers, as well as a greater reliability of services.
“Metro Flow will be truly transformational for people using the service every day to get to work, education or leisure destinations across the region. It will offer improved journey times across the entire Metro system so I’m sure this will encourage more people to consider public transport as a clean, safe and reliable way to travel.”
Project Manager at Stadler Andreas Discher said: “Nexus’ decision to top up the order is good news for passengers and stakeholders alike. Following the successful completion of the design phase, we are very pleased to have started the manufacturing process this summer, with bodyshells now being built. The first bodyshell is set to be ready by the end of the year, which will be another significant moment for both Stadler and Nexus.”
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