Tyne & Wear

Tyne and Wear Metro: Hitachi in County Durham fails to win new train contract

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 Japanese train builder Hitachi has failed to win an order to supply 42 new trains for the Tyne and Wear metro.

The company was up against Spanish firm CAF and Swiss train manufacturer Stadler for the £500m contract.

Hitachi, which has a plant in County Durham, said it could not comment for legal reasons. Metro operator Nexus said it could not comment.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said it was an "appalling decision" that failed to protect a local business and jobs.

"The new Nexus trains will be built by a foreign company, rather than one just down the road," he said.

"We must stop this madness."

A Nexus spokesman said the procurement of the new fleet was "an ongoing process".

"The successful bidder will be officially announced in January," he said.

Hitachi's plant in Newton Aycliffe employs 700 people and built the East Coast Mainline's new Azuma trains.

It won a £400m order for new Midland main line carriages but failed to secure a £1.5bn London Underground contract.

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

Mr Houchen has called on the authorities awarding the contract to review their "perverse decision".

"Trains built locally by Hitachi Rail can be found on railways around the world but, because of this horrendous decision, this is being put at risk," he said.

Of the remaining contenders, CAF has plants in Spain, France, the US, Mexico, Brazil and Newport and Stadler has a factory in Liverpool.

The new trains are expected to have 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.

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