UK: The government is to provide £337m towards the planned replacement of the Tyne & Wear Metro’s current fleet with ‘modern energy-efficient trains’, which would ‘cut running costs while boosting performance and reliability’, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said when presenting his budget to parliament November 22.
Transport authority Nexus now plans to begin the process of selecting a supplier, with the aim of new trains entering service from 2021.
Welcoming the news, Nexus Managing Director Tobyn Hughes, thanked ‘Metro passengers, the business community, politicians from all parties, the media, and many other friends and partners’, for campaigning to secure the investment required to replace the current fleet. ‘Together we have been able to show the value we place on transport infrastructure as a means to drive the economy and growth’, he said. ‘Today is also a vote of confidence in what Nexus delivers, through our on-going investment programme in Metro’s infrastructure, the roll-out of smart ticketing and our plans to further extend and develop Metro and local rail services.’
The current Tyne & Wear Metro vehicles date from the launch of the network in 1980, and according to Nexus the fleet is now ‘dogged by frequent faults which have hit day-to-day reliability’, making the trains ‘among the worst-performing of their kind.’