The bodyshell for the first of Tyne and Wear Metro’s new £362m train fleet has been unveiled by the trains’ builder, Stadler.
A fleet of 46 trains are being delivered by the Swiss train builder, Stadler, on behalf of Nexus, with the first new train to enter passenger service from 2023. The new Metro trains will retain Metro’s iconic yellow colour scheme.
Metro is owned and managed by Nexus, which is a public body and a spokesman for the company said “it was a significant moment for a historic project that will transform Metro for its customers, delivering a step-change in quality and reliability”.
The bodyshell is made of aluminium, which is lighter than steel and has excellent anti-corrosive properties to ensure that the new trains achieve their life expectancy.
The new trains will be 15 times more reliable than the existing fleet and will cut energy consumption by 30%. They will have charging points, air conditioning, and much-improved accessibility through an automatic sliding step at every door, which will make travel easier for Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair passengers, as well as people with children’s buggies, luggage, or bicycles.
Stadler took over maintenance of the old fleet in October last year and will be responsible for the servicing and maintenance of the new trains for 35 years, underscoring their commitment to the regional economy.
Head of Fleet and Depot Replacement Programme at Nexus, Michael Richardson, said: “We are at a significant moment in the production of the new Metro train fleet, and it is really exciting to see the first train on the Stadler production line taking shape in its iconic yellow livery.
“This is the first of 46 new Metro trains we have on order. The bodyshell paves the way for the train to be fitted out with the seats, information screens and all of the many other interior items that people fed back on during the extensive public consultation process that we carried out.
“The first train will be delivered by Stadler at the end of 2022 and it will enter passenger service from 2023. We are at the business end of an exciting project that is going to transform the Tyne and Wear Metro for many decades to come.”
Project Manager at Stadler, Adrian Wetter, said: “Completing the first bodyshell is a highly symbolic landmark in the manufacturing process, and an outward sign that the vehicles are really beginning to take shape, after a period of design and preparation. With the first now ready and painted in the Tyne and Wear Metro colours, we look forward to seeing this stage in full swing, with lots more produced over the months ahead.”