The operators of The Tyne and Wear Metro have announced the shortlist of preferred bidders to build the next fleet of trains.
- Hitatchi Rail
The three firms will be invited to make final offers this summer after Nexus completed its evaluation of initial tenders submitted by each firm.
Nexus has secured Government grant funding of £337m towards the projected £362m cost, which includes designing and building a new Metro train fleet and a new train maintenance depot.
The winning bid will be announced in January 2020.
Nexus expects to see the first new trains arriving in late 2021, from which point the phased withdrawal of its existing Metro fleet will begin.
How will the new trains be different?
Nexus wants improved seating layouts, wider doors and stand-back areas, wide aisles, and a layout to encourage flow of passengers through the vehicle.
It's aimed at improving passengers’ sense of security, accessibility and providing space for large items and luggage.
There will be improved digital connectivity for passengers and air conditioning.
- Tobyn Hughes, the Managing Director at Nexus hopes the new fleet will transform the passenger experience:
Who are the preferred contenders?
Hitatchi Rail: Known for its Japanese bullet-trains and bespoke metro fleets, the company has over 100 years of experience. The £100 million North East factory in Newton Aycliffe is currently building the new Azuma trains for LNER, which connects cities such as London, Newcastle, York and Edinburgh.
Stadler: An international rail vehicle construction company based in Eastern Switzerland that produces high-speed trains, intercity trains, regional and commuter heavy rail trains, underground trains and trams. Stadler also manufactures the most powerful diesel-electric locomotive in Europe.
CAF: A Spanish company with factories in Spain, France, the USA, Mexico and Brazil. It has a new UK train assembly plant in Newport, South Wales. Their recent contracts include regional trains for the Northern franchise. They are also competing to build trains for HS2.