Metro operator Nexus announced that Tyne and Wear Metro drivers took their first drive of the new Class 555 trains manufactured by Stadler.

Part of the Metro Futures Traincrew Specialist Team, eight drivers operated the multi-million-pound Stadler train at a special test track in the Czech Republic.

With Stadler engineers on board, the new train has been operated by these drivers at a special 4km test ring deep in the Czech countryside.

The trains feature advanced digital systems, including on board computerised controls set in a modern ‘space-age’ driving cab. 

Nexus stated that it was a “significant moment for the £362m project ahead of the first new train arriving in North-East England.”

Traincrew specialist and Metro Driver Craig Pearson is said to be one of the first drivers to operate the new Metro train.

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Pearson said: “It was a huge moment for me to drive the new Stadler Metro train for the first time. The technology that these new trains offer us are going to be transformative and are a world away from the old fleet.”

The new Metro driving console has adaptive traction control beside built-in rail sanding to confront the severe autumn and winter conditions.

These trains also feature monitors that will allow drivers to view cameras across the train and speak directly with customers when required.

Their other features include charging points, air conditioning and a step-change in accessibility, as well as an automatic sliding step at every door.

Swiss train maker Stadler is involved in the manufacturing of 46 new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro. 

Besides, the firm is about to conclude a new £70m Metro depot construction at Gosforth in Newcastle, which will house the new Metro trains. 

The first train is expected to begin service in the autumn, stated Nexus.