New Tyne and Wear Metro trains begin testing phase ahead of rollout across network
Every new train in the fleet is expected to hit the tracks by 2025.
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The testing process has begun on new Tyne and Wear Metro trains which are expected to be available for public use across the system very soon.
Tens of thousands of detailed tests are taking place to get the train fleet ready for customer service, in what is one of the most important projects in the network’s history.
Stadler, the Swiss train building company, is working with Metro operator, Nexus, on this latest phase of the £362m programme, known as testing and commissioning, which covers nearly every single component on the trains.
Metro teams are spending their early mornings carrying out plenty of different tests in what is the biggest project since the system was built in the late 1970s.
A total of 90,000 individual tests are required, with checks on everything from seats and windscreen wipers to more major items like brakes, CCTV, doors, wheels, and power supply.
Nexus claimsthere are 19,000 hours of training time, with the first few trains completing 37,000 kilometres of running. There are 22,000 standards and clauses to comply with and 480 staff to train up.
The process is to ensure that the new trains work safely across the system’s 60 stations and 77 kilometres of track across Tyne and Wear.
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Testing has been ongoing since the first three Stadler trains arrived in the North East back in March 2023. This started with some basic testing within the depot and first trains started to be tested on the Nexus network in May.
Interim Managing Director at Nexus, Cathy Massarella, said: “Testing is really detailed and it’s absolutely critical to get the new Stadler trains ready for customer service.
“We are leaving no stone unturned in what is probably the biggest and most important project since the Metro system was first built.
“These trains are a world away from the current fleet. They have digital technology and much of the testing can be done by plugging a laptop computer into the trains’ onboard computer system.”
She added: “Our customers won’t see the new trains running around the network as the testing is currently being undertaken between midnight and the early hours when the network is closed. However, there will be testing in daylight hours later this year.
“Thousands of inspection criteria need to be met, and fault free running targets achieved before Nexus officially accepts the trains and we put the first one into service.”
The first five new trains will each need to complete 10,000 kilometres of fault-free running before they are ready for handover.