North East artists chosen to design interior artwork of new £362m Metro fleet

250422 Metro Nexus
All four artists who have been chosen to design artwork for the inside of the new fleet of Metro trains are from the North East Credit: Nexus

Four artists have been chosen to create artwork for the new fleet of Tyne and Wear Metro trains.

Nexus, which runs the Metro, picked the artists following an open call to create an artwork for the £362m new train fleet, making it the first system in the world to have permanent art inside.

Each artist will produce a piece for the 46 trains entering the fleet, which will cover the full height and width of the end walls of the carriages.

Metro says it will be the first urban transit system in the world to feature permanent art inside trains when the new fleet enters service next year.

The project is funded by Arts Council England through its National Lottery Project Grants programme.

The four artists, who are all from the North East, are Sofia Fox Barton, Sara Gibbeson, Hazel Oakes, working as Nocciola the Drawer, and Bryony Simcox.

Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: "We are thrilled to be working with Sofia, Sara, Hazel and Bryony, four very different artists but each of them an amazing talent with a unique vision for Metro’s new trains.

"The Tyne and Wear Metro will, we believe, be the first urban transit system anywhere in the world to commission major new artworks inside trains, the height and width of a train carriage, which will be seen by millions of people every year.

"Nexus has a proud history of commissioning public art over the 40 years of Metro, but it is a huge step forward for us to ask artists to work inside our £362m train fleet. 

"Metro is part of everyday life in North East England, and we look forward to seeing four exciting new works which reflect on our modern, diverse region and its heritage in strikingly different ways."

Nexus received more than 120 submissions from around the world, in response to an open call for artists to respond to the theme of ‘place’ in North East England.

The four works of art will be recreated on the train walls by manufacturer Stadler at its factory in Switzerland.

The first new Metro train is set to arrive in North East at the end of this year and will enter service in autumn 2023 after testing.