Tyne and Wear Metro owner and operator Nexus has unveiled the final interior design of the North East’s new Metro fleet after going through 23,000 responses from customers, employees, and specialist user groups.
The consultation process took place through interactive online platforms and augmented virtual reality workshops.
Nexus stated that the consultation led to a wide-ranging enhancements and option selection as against the original design.
As part of the next stage, Swiss train manufacturing firm Stadler will commence production in August.
The company will produce around 42 new Metro trains, with deliveries set to take place up to 2024.
In 2023, the first new trains will commence passenger services.
Stadler will provide maintenance services for a period of 35 years.
Under the new fleet project, the company will also construct a new $96.69m (£70m) Metro depot at Gosforth.
The new trains are expected to reduce energy consumption by 30% and are said to be 15 times more reliable.
They will include contemporary features, such as enhanced internet connectivity, air conditioning, charging points, digital information screens at key locations, and a step-change in accessibility.
The automatic sliding step at every door of the new trains will help in improving the travel experience for wheelchair commuters, along with those carrying children’s buggies, baggage, or bicycles.
Nexus stated that the final interior design features an open-plan layout in accordance with linear seating with stand-back areas at each door.
This will provide additional space for passengers during peak times and help in circulation.
The designs also include four dedicated wheelchair spaces as well as two multi-use areas for keeping non-folding bicycles, buggies, and luggage.
After consultation, the seat numbers have been increased from 104 to 116 by introducing 12 tip seats in each train.
Other design changes cover handrails in wheelchair areas, double grab poles, seat and divider decal, wall finishings, colouring of floor markings, and colour differentiation between poles and doors.
In May this year, UK-based Buckingham Group Contracting secured a $78m (£55m) contract to carry out $141m (£100m) track dualling works on the Tyne and Wear Metro.