First look at new Tyne and Wear Metro train

The new Tyne and Wear Metro trains have been unveiled. Credit: LDRS

The first new-look Tyne and Wear Metro train has been officially unveiled.

So far two of the new Stadler Class 555, made in Switzerland, have been delivered to the North East and Metro operator Nexus is set to receive another 44 by 2025.

The air-conditioned trains, which are part of a £362m programme, are more spacious, feature seats along the side of the carriages - rather than across them - and have places to plug in phone chargers.

They also have an automatic sliding step at every door to make it easier for wheelchair passengers as well as people with children’s buggies, luggage or bicycles.

  • Video report by Tom Barton

They will enter service at the end of the year.

Transport minister Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, said it was a "bright new chapter" for passengers.

He added: “These sleek new trains will offer cleaner, smoother and more reliable journeys as we leave no stone unturned to boost clean travel, level up transport and grow the economy.”

Martin Kearney, managing director of Nexus, said: “The Stadler trains are going to be transformative, and we are really excited to get them into service for our customers.

“Stadler are a world class train manufacturer. What they are delivering are trains with the very latest modern technology, which is a massive leap from our current 43-year-old fleet."

The first new trains will be in service by the end of the year. Credit: LDRS

He added the the new trains would go through a phase of testing on the network and drivers will now undertake a period of train handling experience.

He said: “We will then be able to put the new train into service so that all of our customers will get to feel the benefits, and share in this moment of history for the Tyne and Wear Metro."

Cllr Martin Gannon, chairman of North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “I am delighted to see the new train take pride of place in our region’s Metro fleet.

“The technology onboard is very impressive and I’m sure passengers can’t wait to see the new fleet in action. My congratulations to the team at Nexus for their hard work getting the trains ready to enter service – it is an exciting time for public transport in the North East.

The new-look trains are more spacious and the previous model. Credit: LDRS

“This investment is a result of the whole region pulling together to secure major funding from government, recognising the huge importance of our Metro system to residents, businesses and of course the region’s economy."

The new trains replace the current 43-year-old vehicles.

More than 23,000 people took part in the design process through virtual reality and digital engagement created by academics at Newcastle University’s Open Lab - the most far-reaching consultation ever staged into a new train design.

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