Network operator Nexus has appointed Swiss firm Stadler to build the new fleet.
The contract will see Stadler build an initial order of 42 trains between 2022 and 2024 and a £70million new maintenance facility at Metro’s current depot site in South Gosforth, while Nexus will oversee construction of a satellite depot at Howdon, North Tyneside, and wider project costs and contingencies.
The number of trains may go up to 46 if Nexus wins additional Government funding.
The operator says the design of the new trains has been created based on the ideas and suggestions of more than 3,000 Metro passengers and will cut Metro’s high voltage power consumption by 30%, while providing a service that is 15 times more reliable than the current fleet.
Nexus managing director Tobyn Hughes said: “We asked for the best trains for the best price – based on what local people said they wanted to see, providing excellent reliability for years to come, transforming the passenger experience and delivering huge energy savings.”
Key features of the new fleet include:
*A total of 42 new trains carrying 600 passengers each.
*The trains will be one single continuous carriage, so passengers can walk right through.
*Air-conditioning, plus heated floors in winter.
*Mobile phone charging points throughout the train.
*Four wheelchair spaces per train plus bike/buggy/luggage areas.
*Retractable steps at every door - 16 in total – making it easier for wheelchair users and those with buggies, bikes or luggage to board.
*Information screens throughout the train.
*Digital CCTV cameras in each train.
Stadler was chosen by Nexus after an 18-month global search for the best manufacturing partner for 42 new trains to be delivered up to 2024.
The total value of the partnership between Nexus and Stadler, which will include decommissioning the existing Metro fleet, could rise to £700million, through a contract to maintain the new trains for up to 35 years depending on performance.
The Department for Transport will also provide revenue support to help meet the maintenance costs of the new trains.