Metro will be the first urban transit system in the world to feature permanent art inside trains when the new fleet enters service next year, thanks to a project led by operator Nexus and funded by Arts Council England through its National Lottery Project Grants programme.
Four artists have been chosen following an open call for submissions, and each one will go on to create a major new work to cover the full height and width of carriage end walls, right through the fleet of 46 trains being built for Metro by global train manufacturer Stadler.
The four artists are Sofia Fox Barton, Sara Gibbeson, Hazel Oakes, and Bryony Simcox.
Nexus has ordered 46 trains from Stadler, with two works of art to appear on each train.
As a result, each piece of work will appear 23 times across the whole fleet.
The four works the Metro artists create will be reproduced onto the train walls by Stadler as part of the manufacturing process at its factory in St Margrethen, Switzerland.
Huw Lewis, customer services director at Nexus, the public body which owns Metro, 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 art works 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.
“We look forward to seeing four exciting new works which reflect on our modern, diverse region and its heritage in strikingly different ways.”
He added: “We have involved our customers very heavily to shape the design of our new trains. People were keen to see art and incorporated into the train design, and we are grateful to Arts Council England for the National Lottery grant funding which has made this possible.”