How new Metro trains could end travel chaos caused by Storm Ali

An artist's impression of how new Metro trains may look
An artist's impression of how new Metro trains may look

A new generation of Metros could prevent the kind of travel chaos cause by Storm Ali.

Fallen trees and other debris on overhead power lines saw disruption to parts of the Tyne and Wear network yesterday (Wednesday, September 20).

But a revamped fleet, due to enter service in 2021, could make this a thing of the past, with the option for drivers to switch to an onboard battery when its usual power source is unavailable.

A Nexus spokesman said: “The aim is to have a battery power supply in the new train fleet.

“That would mean trains could still be moved about the system in the event of a power supply problem or a section of overhead line being brought down in a storm.

“The new fleet of trains will deliver a step-change in quality for our customers and this is one of the major benefits of the new technology.

“This week we announced the five shortlisted companies who are vying to win the contract to design and build the new change.

“We are looking forward to seeing what they can offer us.”

Disruption caused by Storm Ali included suspension of Metros between Pelaw and South Shields and of the Shields Ferry.

Nexus has started a £362m project to overhaul its fleet of ageing trains, which it says will provide comfier seats, phone charging points and air conditioning – as well as greater reliability.

Speaking at this morning’s (Thursday, September 20) meeting of the North East Combined Authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Nexus managing director Tobyn Hughes said the new fleet could also be an ‘enabler’ in aiding the extension of the Metro network.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service