Allegations over new Metro fleet contract set to be put to South Tyneside Council next week

Allegations Metro bosses made a ‘perverse decision’ not to give a contract to build a new fleet of trains to a firm with a North East factory will be put to council bosses.

Saturday, 19th October 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Saturday, 19th October 2019, 6:36 pm
South Tyneside Council will be asked to comment on reports Nexus has ruled Hitachi Rail, which has a factory in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, out of the running for the project.

South Tyneside Council will be asked to comment on reports Nexus has ruled Hitachi Rail, which has a factory in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, out of the running for the project.

But Nexus, which operates the network, has insisted a decision has still not been made on which of its three preferred bidders will be given the contract, and they say it will be made public in the new year.

The question to the council asks: “What is South Tyneside Council doing, if anything, to make sure that the perverse decision taken by Nexus to overlook North East train builders, Hitachi Rail in the renewal of the Tyne and Wear Metro fleet is reversed?

“Currently the contract is set to go to a foreign competitor and Nexus has the perfect opportunity to support local skilled jobs, but instead chooses to disregard a great local train builder.”

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The question has been tabled by a member of the public, named in the agenda for the full council meeting on Thursday, October 24, as Jack White.

Council rules allow individuals to submit questions to be put to a full meeting of the council.

However, the guidelines also state responses will be sent by letter within seven days of the meeting, unless the mayor thinks it ‘requires a more urgent response’ and demands an answer is given at the meeting.

Nexus has previously said a decision on which manufacturer out of Hitachi, Spanish firm CAF and Swiss train maker Stadler will be given the £500m contract to produce a new Metro fleet will be announced in January.

A spokesman for the Metro operator Nexus said: “We will be unveiling a new train design for Metro in the new year.

“Our procurement process is ongoing and we can’t comment further on it until then.”