A £500M contract to overhaul one of the UK’s busiest metro systems has been launched.
The successful bidder will be responsible for the design, construction, testing, and delivery of a new fleet of electric trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro system in the north east of England.
It will also be required to design and build a new depot and maintain both the new and existing fleet of trains over the next 35 years.
Owner Nexus said it wanted to see trains which improve passenger flow and dwell times at stations through improved seating layouts and wider doors and aisles. It also said there would be improved digital connectivity for passengers and air conditioning.
The contract is being carried out under the MetroFutures Fleet Replacement Programme.
Nexus managing director Tobyn Hughes said: “Metro makes a huge contribution to North East of England’s environment and economy, and we have been supported by local businesses, our residents and our politicians in our plans for new rolling stock.
“We were delighted the government announced it would provide capital grant for replacement of the metro fleet and new depot facilities, meaning we can move forward with this essential programme.
“Our investment in new trains will transform passengers’ experience. We are looking for a long-term partner we will work with to provide an excellent Metro for decades to come.”
The network carries over 36M passengers a year on a network connecting Newcastle and Sunderland. It has 60 stations and approximately 78km of track and operates 450 services each weekday. During peak periods Metrocars run up to every three minutes in the central Newcastle to Gateshead corridor.
Nexus owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro on behalf of the five local authorities in the Tyne and Wear area. It said the procurement of the new fleet was a key objective of the Metro and Local Rail Strategy that had been developed to cover the North East Combined Authority (NECA) area.
The existing fleet is comprised of ninety class-599 Metrocars designed and built by Metro-Cammell in the late 1970s and introduced into passenger service between 1980 and 1982.
Contracts are expected to be awarded by the end of 2019 with the new trains delivered by the end of 2021.
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