Transport executive Nexus has shortlisted five companies for the £500m contract to design, manufacture and maintain a new train fleet for the Tyne and Wear Metro in the UK.

The five bidders are Bombardier Transportation UK, CAF, Hitachi Rail Europe, Stadler Bussnang, and a joint venture between Downer EDI Rail and CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles.

Nexus owns and operates the metro system, and is currently negotiating with all the five entities. The successful bidder is scheduled to be announced at the end of next year.

Alongside delivering the new trains and their management, the selected bidder will manage the new depot at the existing site in Gosforth, Newcastle.

Nexus managing director Tobyn Hughes said: “Our investment in new trains will transform passengers’ experience of the Tyne and Wear Metro.

“We have issued an invitation to negotiate to five bidders who, between them, are building trains for many of the world’s biggest cities and rail networks.”

“Our investment in new trains will transform passengers’ experience of the Tyne and Wear Metro.”

The cost of designing and development of the new train fleet is estimated to be £362m. The overall contract also includes maintenance of the vehicles for 35 years.

Nexus has already secured £337m in government funding for the rolling stock acquisition.

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The Tyne and Wear Metro has been an essential part of the public transport network in the North East for 40 years.

“That is why the government is committed to investing nearly £340m to upgrade the fleet and secure its future for decades to come.”

Deliveries of the new trains are expected to start from the end of 2021 and will replace the existing vehicles, which will be phased out between 2022 and 2024.

The Tyne and Wear Metro network connects Sunderland and Newcastle cities, as well as serves the surrounding communities in north-east England.