Tyne & Wear

Tyne and Wear Metro new train manufacturer shortlist announced

Concept design of how a new Metro train could look Image copyright Nexus
Image caption The winning company will design, build and maintain the fleet

The shortlist of firms bidding to build a fleet of new trains for Tyne and Wear's Metro system has been announced.

They are Spanish firm CAF, Swiss manufacturer Stadler and Japanese Hitachi, which built the East Coast Mainline's new Azuma trains at its Newton Aycliffe site.

The winner of the £500m contract is due to be announced in January 2020.

However, operators Nexus warned Brexit posed a risk to the fleet coming in on budget.

Managing director Tobyn Hughes said each firm had "a proven track record of building trains for railway systems throughout the world".

Nexus' specification for the 42 trains includes air conditioning, Tube-style linear seating to increase capacity, wider doors and aisles, and digital features such as Wi-Fi connectivity and charging points.

The winning firm will also maintain the fleet.

The new trains are expected to replace the current decades-old carriages between 2021 and 2024, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Who are the three remaining bidders?

  • CAF: A Spanish firm with factories in Spain, France, the US, Mexico and Brazil, as well as a new assembly plant in Newport. It is building a new fleet of trains for Northern Rail and is competing to build for HS2
  • Hitachi: Well known for its Japanese bullet trains, Hitachi established a new factory in Newton Aycliffe in 2015. From there it has delivered the new Azuma intercity trains for the London North East Railway
  • Stadler: The Swiss company has a factory in Liverpool and is building a new Merseyrail fleet

Bombardier and Downer/CRRC have been eliminated.

Image copyright Nexus
Image caption The Metro system carries about 40 million passengers each year

Meanwhile, councils across Tyneside, Wearside, County Durham and Northumberland have agreed a £377m bid to the government's Transforming Cities Fund to overhaul the region's transport.

It includes £108m for twin tracking of the Metro between Pelaw and Tyne Dock to increase train frequency.

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