The International Light Rail Magazine
+44 1733 367610

Stadler delivers the first new Tyne and Wear Metro train

The first of the new Tyne and Wear Metro trains was delivered to Gosforth by rail from Switzerland. S. Brock/Nexus

The first of the new Stadler Class 555 trains for the UK’s Tyne & Wear Metro arrived at the system’s rebuilt Gosforth depot on 28 February, in what Passenger Transport Executive Nexus has described as a “landmark moment”.

Stadler is building 46 of the five-car trains at its factory in St Margrethen, Switzerland, under a GBP362m (EUR407m) deal confirmed in January 2020. The 59.9m units, which will replace the system’s current 43-year-old Metrocar rolling stock by 2025, promise up to 30% improvements in energy efficiency – using onboard energy storage and enhanced regenerative braking – greater capacity (up to 600 passengers per train), onboard CCTV, air-conditioning, USB charging points and automatic sliding steps to improve accessibility.

Designed in consultation with Nexus staff, the new drivers’ console features adaptive traction control alongside built-in rail sanding.

Delivery of the first of the new trains across Europe took place by rail, through the Channel Tunnel.

“Everyone is excited to get the testing and driver training process underway, so that we can put the new train into service on the network,” Nexus Managing Director Martin Kearney said. “They’re a world away from our current fleet, and promise to be transformative for customers and for our workforce.”

The first eight drivers from the Metro Futures Traincrew Specialist Team have undertaken familiarisation runs with a Class 555 on the 4km (2.5-mile) test track at Velim in the Czech Republic. A further 20 drivers have been trained to instruct their colleagues using a simulator.

The first of the new trains is expected to enter service this summer.