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Tyne and Wear Metro opens tender on ‘long overdue’ new £360m fleet

The Tyne and Wear Metro has begun the process of buying a new fleet of trams after launching the tender.

Nexus, which operates the network, says the new fleet will be worth more than £360m and is scheduled to enter service by 2021.

It will be made up of 42 two-carriage trains, complete with air conditioning, digital connectivity, phone charging points and a linear seat layout to create more space for wheelchairs, standing room and luggage.

As part of the programme, a new maintenance depot will be built on the existing Metro depot site at Gosforth in Newcastle.

The expected £362m total is made up of a £337m commitment from central government plus a £25m contribution coming from Nexus.

“A reliable Metro service is absolutely vital and a new fleet of trains ensures that we can deliver that,” explained Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and lead for transport on the North East Combined Authority (NECA).

“Investment in new rolling stock was long overdue. Nexus are now in a position to crack on and purchase the new trains and get them built.

“This is the first step on the road to a bright new era for the Tyne and Wear Metro, a key public service that plays such a big part in so many people’s everyday lives.”

The initial plans for the new fleet came from a £1bn strategy put forward by NECA in 2016, which sets out the next 20 years for the region’s transport.

Managing director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the funding and now that we have approval from the combined authority we can get on with the job of buying the new trains.

“The trains that we will buy will transform the reliability of the Metro system, as well as reducing energy usage and updating the experience of travelling by Metro. We will also future-proof them so that they have the capability of serving more destinations on a wider network in the future.”

Hughes confirmed that the organisation was in the process of finalising the specification for the fleet but was committed to the passenger benefits it had promised.

The winning bidder in the tender process will be announced in 2019, with the new fleet then introduced in stages as the old stock is phased out.

Top image: Tyne and Wear Metro

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Geordie   26/01/2018 at 19:07

They are not, and have never been "trams'. They are trains which run on rails. They do not run on streets like trams.

Andrew Gwilt   26/01/2018 at 23:42

Hitachi could win the contract to manufacture new rolling stock units for the Tyne and Wear Metro as they are located some 30 miles south of Newcastle at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham. Unless others includes Siemens, Bombardier, CAF, Stadler and Talgo could be on the list to manufacture new trains for T&W Metro.

James Palma   27/01/2018 at 11:41

I wonder why they don't build four car trains instead of having 2xtwo car trains coupled together. Any one know why?

Richard Vogel   27/01/2018 at 13:28

I think the planned introduction in 2021 is very ambitious. The fact that there is probably not an off the shelf solution means that a new safety case will be required. These new trains must be capable of running on the same lines as full size freight trains and must have a degree of crash worthiness. I'd be surprised if I see any new trains before 2025.

PP   30/01/2018 at 11:07

I don't see why it's so complex - the original Metro rolling stock was straight off the shelf, it's an adapted version of German Stadtbahn rolling stock, and it's ended up running over Network Rail tracks without any significant issues. A number of high-floor metro-style vehicle types are available, and adapting them to meet the right standards doesn't look too tricky. Stadler's new Merseyrail design is probably a good starting point, or some kind of variant on the Sheffield tram-train.

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