This is the first of 46 trains that Metro operator Nexus has on order, and which will replace the current fleet, with delivery scheduled for the end of 2022.
The main interior components are now being fitted at Stadler’s factory at St. Magrethen in northern Switzerland, following the completion of the first bodyshell in Metro’s iconic yellow livery.
Work now taking place includes installation of the wheels, seats, equipment cases, piping, wiring, flooring, windows, and other internal furnishings.
Since October 2020, Stadler has been responsible for servicing and maintaining the current Metro fleet, and it will have the same responsibilities for the new trains once they are introduced into passenger service.
The service and maintenance contract is for 35 years, for which Stadler is constructing a new £70m depot for the trains at Gosforth.
The new Metro trains will feature charging points and air conditioning, and have an automatic sliding step at every door, making it easier for wheelchair users and people with push-chairs, luggage, or bicycles to board and alight.
Head of Fleet and Depot Replacement Programme at Nexus, Michael Richardson, said: “It is really exciting to see that the first new Metro train is at the final assembly stage over at the factory in Switzerland.
“Stadler build world-class trains, with great attention to detail, and they are making excellent progress. From here on the production line will keep rolling. We can expect to see the first new train here in our region a year from now.
“I am sure our customers are just as pleased to see the first of the 46 new Metro’s that we have on order really starting to take shape.
“The new Metro fleet will deliver a step change in quality, comfort and reliability. They are going to transform the service that we deliver to our customers. It is the most significant project since Metro opened in 1980.”
Markus Bernsteiner, CEO of Stadler Rheintal, commented: “After more than 20 years in the industry, it is still a special moment for me when we start the assembly of a new project. This is because it’s the first time that all the hard work that has taken place behind the scenes over the last two years finally becomes visible, which is always very motivating for the whole company. Getting to this point with these new trains for Nexus is one of the highlights of the year for our factory.”