Swiss manufacturer Stadler wins contract to build new £362m Metro fleet

The Swiss train manufacturer Stadler has won the contract to supply 42 new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The deal, which will give Stadler responsibility for maintaining the Metro fleet for up to 35 years, is reportedly worth £700m.

The new trains will feature air-conditioning, London Tube-style linear seating, wider doors and aisles, as well as WiFi connectivity and charging points.

Nexus say the trains will be ready by 2024.

Stadler was competing against the Spanish firm CAF and the Japanese manufacturer Hitachi, which has a factory in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham.

Stadler, which was founded in 1942, is headquartered in Bussnang in Eastern Switzerland.

The manufacturer builds high-speed trains, intercity trains, regional and commuter heavy rail trains, underground trains and trams. It is currently building new trains for Glasgow and Liverpool.

The contract has already generated political controversy. Last year the Conservative Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen criticised Metro operator Nexus for failing to award the business to Hitachi.

Nexus and Labour council leaders responded by saying it would be illegal to award the contract to Hitachi purely for its local links.

The announcement was made in Gateshead on Tuesday morning. The Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris attended the unveiling, alongside Nexus Managing Director Tobyn Hughes and Martin Gannon, the leader of Gateshead Council.

The Department for Transport will provide £337m in funding.