Swiss train manufacturer Stadler has signed a £700m contract with transport executive Nexus for the delivery and maintenance of 42 metro trains.
Stadler will also construct a new plant to maintain the metro train fleet for a period of 35 years.
The contract also includes a provision to order additional trains. The trains will operate on the Tyne and Wear Metro network in the UK.
Last month, Stadler won a tender for the supply of the trains. Nexus awarded the contract after the completion of the objection period.
Stadler will collaborate with the local suppliers in north-east England to manufacture the new trains. It will also maintain the current fleet of 89 vehicles at Nexus’ existing Gosforth depot until Nexus replaces it with a new depot.
The five-carriage trains will be 60m long and have a capacity of 600 passengers. An overhead line with 1,500VDC will power them. The trains feature eight large double doors for easy boarding and areas for wheelchairs and bicycles.
They will have video surveillance, protection systems and clear warning displays.
According to Stadler, these trains will consume less energy. Their lightweight design, braking energy recovery and efficient traction converter technology enable this. They will also be able to house an energy storage system to ensure that they can operate on extended networks.
Other features include thermal and acoustic insulation, along with reduced noise levels.
The trains will begin operations in 2023 and will completely replace the existing fleet of trains by 2024.
Nexus director general Tobyn Hughes said: “I am delighted that has now been made official with the signing of the contract with Stadler. The hard work now starts in making our new train fleet become a reality. It heralds a very exciting future for Metro, its passengers, and its workforce.