The first of the new trains being built by Stadler for the Tyne and Wear Metro has arrived in the UK. 555 003 was delivered by rail from the Stadler plant in Switzerland and was then moved initially from Dollands Moor to Wembley and then on to Doncaster with a further move expected to Tyne Yard ahead of its arrival on Tyne and Wear Metro metals.
Initial delivery of the first train was originally expected in December but this was delayed to January and eventually a further delay to February. After starting its journey from Switzerland it arrived in the UK on Tuesday 21st February and then started its gradual journey north. Its expected to make its final journey onto the Tyne and Wear Metro early on Tuesday 28th February. Unfortunately, whilst waiting for onward transit at Wembley Yard the unit was “treated” to some graffiti – presumably this will be cleaned off before any big unveiling takes place in the northeast.
555 003 is one of 46 trains being built by Stadler to replace the original Metrocars, which are now over 40 years old. Being constructed by Stadler at St Margrethen, Switzerland, the trains feature many state of the art features including sliding steps to provide level access to all.
Once the train arrives in the northeast testing will be able to start, including driver training, ahead of an expected entry into service this autumn. Two of the units have already been sent to the Czech Republic for extensive testing whilst work continues in Switzerland on building more of the class.