Footage has been released showing the Tyne and Wear Metro’s long-awaited new trains moving for the first time.
The £362m fleet is due to start arriving in the North East by the end of this year and the first of the carriages to roll off the production line are now being put through their paces on a test track in Switzerland. A video released by Metro operator Nexus shows a completed train running through manufacturer Stadler’s testing facility in Erlen, before it is sent to a bigger track in the Czech Republic where some Metro drivers will get the chance to drive it for the first time.
The trains will then have to be tested on the Tyne and Wear Metro network itself after they start arriving this December and will be put into passenger service for the first time in 2023. The latest progress on the fleet comes after the most detailed pictures yet of the modern carriages were released in August.
They will boast a raft of major upgrades compared to the Metro’s outdated trains, which have been in use for more than four decades, and will be 30% more energy efficient. They will feature air conditioning and heated floors, mobile phone charging points, wifi, information screens, and a retractable step at every door designed to make travel easier for people with wheelchairs or buggies.
All of the 46 new trains are due to be delivered by 2024, though there have been warnings that they could be subject to some delays due to global supply chain disruption caused by Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine.
Head of fleet and depot renewal at Nexus, Michael Richardson, said: “It’s brilliant to see the first new Metro train moving along the Stadler test track. This is a really important phase of the project as the first units undergo rigorous testing before we start taking delivery of them.
“This new footage gives our customers a glimpse of what the new trains will be like as we countdown to the first one arriving in North East England at the end of the year. The video shows the new train at Stadler’s commissioning and start-up centre in Switzerland.
“This is where they send new trains fresh from the production line for inspections and rigorous testing. The new trains are going to deliver a step-change in quality for our customers when they start entering full service next year.”
Stadler is also close to completing a new £70m Metro depot in Gosforth.