TYNE & Wear Metro took delivery of the first of its new Stadler fleet on February 28, marking a major milestone in the £362m upgrade of the network serving Newcastle and Sunderland in northeast England.

The class 555 train, the first of 46 that the publicly owned metro operator Nexus has ordered to replace its current 43-year-old fleet, will now go through testing and driver training before entering service this autumn.

The first train was delivered to Gosforth depot by rail on February 28 after being moved from the Stadler plant in Switzerland via the Channel Tunnel to northeast England.

“To see that train arriving at our Gosforth depot was a moment in history for the Tyne and Wear Metro,” says Nexus managing director, Mr Martin Kearney. “The Stadler trains have all the latest modern technology. They’re a world away from our current fleet and they promise to be transformative for customers and for our workforce.

A side view of a car from the new Class 555 Tyne & Wear Metro train, showing the doors which have sliding steps to improve accessibility for passengers with mobility needs, bicycles, luggage and pushchairs. Photo credit: Nexus

“Our customers, employees, specialist user groups and trade unions helped to design the new trains as part of a far-reaching consultation exercise that received 23,000 responses.”

New features for the Tyne & Wear Metro include air-conditioning, an open-plan layout, and USB charging points. The Stadler fleet is more energy efficient and offers improved accessibility with a sliding step at every door to make boarding easier for passengers with mobility needs, heavy luggage or bicycles, and for young families.

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