See final interior design for new-look Metro trains as plans are revealed
The final interior design of the North East’s new Metro fleet has been revealed.
The new open-plan and linear seating layout meets rail industry standards for safety and accessibility and bosses say is aimed at transforming the journey experience.
In August, Stadler – a Swiss train manufacturing company – will start production with the first new trains set to enter passenger service in 2023.
How may new Metro trains will be built?
Stadler is building a total of 42 new Metro trains for Nexus, which will be delivered up to 2024, and will be responsible for servicing and maintaining these trains for 35 years.
The trains, which will be 15 times more reliable and will cut energy consumption by 30%, will have modern features including improved internet connectivity, charging points, air conditioning and a step-change in accessibility.
What’s new about the interior plans?
The new design boasts an open-plan layout based on linear seating with stand-back areas at each door to aid circulation and create more room for passengers at busy times. Current trains have 128 seats while initial plans saw this reduced to 104.
But the new design will have 116 through the introduction of 12 tip seats in each train.
There will be four dedicated wheelchair spaces, matching the quantity in the current fleet, plus two multi-use areas suitable for non-folding bicycles, children’s buggies and luggage. These areas have tip seats to provide flexible space for different customer needs through the day.
Plans show a sliding step at each door to aid boarding and alighting.
While digital information screens at key locations throughout the carriage, in addition to central ‘strip’ screens with ‘next stop’ text and audio facilities. The screens will be visible from 90% of all seats and 100% of priority seats.
What do bosses say about the plans?
Metro Development Director, Neil Blagburn, said: “We’ve listened to the views of thousands of people during the consultation process and we have acted on that feedback by making changes to a range of the interior features.
“We have added 12 more tip-seats seats to the carriages, a more bespoke space for wheelchairs, and double grab poles. The poles and handrails will all be in the distinctive yellow Metro colour scheme.
“The seats will be made from a hard-wearing material and will have a sleek grey colour. They were designed by our very own in-house team and they will incorporate the iconic ‘M’ logo in the Calvert font that we use on all Metro signage.”
What changes were made because of the consultation?
The consultation, which used interactive online platforms and augmented virtual reality workshops, resulted in comprehensive improvements and option selection compared to the original design.
These include final decisions on the look and feel of doors, handholds, wheelchair spaces, cycle storage, seat fabric, internal artwork and branding.
There was also strong customer feedback requesting more seats, taking the design closer to the 128 seats available on the current trains. With 116 seats there will be a net increase of 56 seats per hour when frequency increases from five to six trains per hour through the Metro Flow project.