Drivers on the Tyne and Wear Metro have got their first look at the new trains with Stadler – the builders of the new trains – providing virtual reality headsets. These allow drivers to see the inside of the cabs before it has been built.
Neil Blagburn, Metro Development Director, explains more: “Virtual reality is a highly versatile design tool that allows us to consult our drivers in a Covid secure way. The technology delivers a wholly immersive experience that allows them to explore the computer-generated cab and provide feedback that the designers can use to refine the cab design. As many of our 155 drivers as possible will be taking time out to use the VR headsets over a nine-week consultation period. The use of VR helps ensure that when the time comes for them to get behind the controls we have delivered the best possible layout for them. The new cab will be a world away from what we currently have. The technology will be transformative. The VR technology allows the drivers to see for the first time what they can expect from the proposed cab layout and design. This is another significant stage in the delivery of the new Metro fleet, with the manufacturing process scheduled to begin next year.”
Once the drivers have taken a look at the design of the cab layout they will then be able to provide feedback which will be sent to Stadler to sort out any potential issues before actual constriction gets underway in 2021.
The new trains – of which there will be 46 – are being built by Stadler in Switzerland before delivery to the northeast. The first are due to enter service from 2023 with the final delivery expected in 2023. They are part of a £362 million contract which will also include the rebuilding of South Gosforth Depot.