Tyne and Wear Metro drivers praise the new fleet following night-time testing
Tyne and Wear Metro drivers have given the seal of approval to the new trains after the first test runs are completed on the network.
and live on Freeview channel 276
Nexus, the public body that operates the Tyne and Wear Metro, has confirmed that the new trains have taken part in a series of night-time tests as part of detailed preparations to get them ready for entering service.
The new trains are estimated to be available for public use by the end of the year, with the testing process set to continue throughout the coming weeks and months.
The first test was held between South Gosforth and Monkseaton earlier this month, on Wednesday, May 10, with drivers Jon Doughty and Chris Mongan present.
Both have praised the quality and performance of the Stadler Class 555 Metro train.
Chris commented: “It was a big moment for me personally as I’ve been involved with the project for the last three years. These new trains are great for Metro and for the whole region.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity many of us that have been involved and to be able to go out on the new train’s first night of testing on the system was a real privilege.
“I don’t think the test could have gone any better to be honest. We know what the new train is capable of, and we know what a great asset it is going to be. We have watched it grow from a sketch on a piece of paper into the finished product that we see now.
“We knew it was going to be good, and we know we have taken a light year leap forward, but to actually be on board it, and experience it first hand, was amazing.
“The new train outperformed anything that we could have imagined. The drive was smooth. The braking system was operating perfectly well, and the dynamic braking and power were spot on.”
Jon has described the new fleet as “100 times better” than the current trains and likened the switch from an old car to a supercar.
He added: “The testing is vital to get the new trains ready for customer service.
“They are testing the brakes at different speeds. Testing the doors. Testing the automatic sliding step.
“Everything went exceptionally well on that first test run. The train was out on the network for four hours without any major problems. It was an excellent and historic occasion for the Tyne and Wear Metro, and for the North East.
“The torque on the new Stadler train was unbelievable compared to what we are driving at the moment.
“It’s just a hundred times better. It’s smooth, we have air conditioning, and we have brand new seats in a modern new driver’s cab. It’s just a move the future.
“We have been driving the same trains for 40 years, and they have technology which is over 40 years old. Going to the new train is like making the switch from a mark one escort to a Lamborghini.
“It’s an absolutely fantastic piece of kit to drive. It’s unbelievable. We are just so excited to actually get behind the wheel of these new trains and drive them, and to welcome customers on board.”
Stadler, the Swiss train manufacturer, are building a total of 46 new Metro trains on behalf of Nexus.
The fleet will enter service in phases and the aim is to have all of the new trains in service by 2025.
Stadler has delivered three new trains to North East England so far, and more are set to arrive later this year.
Read South Tyneside’s news on the go with our free email newsletters - bringing the headlines to your inbox. Catch up on the day’s news and sport and enjoy even more from your Gazette. Visit our website here to find out more and sign up.