Testing continues of new Metro fleet – but project confirmed as five months behind schedule

Its been confirmed that the programme to introduce the new Tyne and Wear Metro fleet of trains (currently being built by Stadler) into service is running around five months behind schedule. It had been hoped the first would be in service by the end of 2023 but although the plan remains for one to run in passenger service before the end of the year this will now be a short demonstration run only.

The news of the “reset” of the project implementation came in notes from a recent meeting of the North East Combined Authority. In the report it states that “Testing of the new fleet continues on the Nexus network and is expected to be the most challenging phase of the programme with reliance on effective collaboration between Stadler and Nexus, as well as support from across the organisation, to ensure it remains to programme.”

Not long after this news came out in the local media then Nexus released a lengthy press release explaining current progress on the testing of the trains in what they have described as the biggest project on the Metro for 43 years.

As part of the commissioning period a total of 90,000 individual tests are required which include tests from everything ranging from seats and windscreen wipers, to items such as brakes, CCTV, doors, wheels and power supply.

So far three of the trains (out of total of 46) have been delivered to the northeast with more to follow later this year. The first five trains will all have to complete 10,000km of fault free running before they are ready for handover to be considered for service. This will come after initial testing to make sure they work with Mero systems including stations and track. The trains have started their initial tests with this taking place overnight but as the programme progresses the new trains will start to be seen in daylight hours.

Cathy Massarella, Interim Managing Director at Nexus, said: “Testing is really detailed and it’s absolutely critical to get the new Stadler trains ready for customer service. We are leaving no stone unturned in what is probably the biggest and most important project since the Metro system was first built.

“Everything on the train needs to be tested and checked thoroughly and this is something that we are doing in conjunction with our colleagues at Stadler. There is great attention to detail. It’s very much like the testing that a big car company undertakes when it’s preparing to unveil a new model. The trains need to be put through their paces to ensure that they are ready for daily service.

“These trains are a world away from the current fleet. They have digital technology and much of the testing can be done by plugging a laptop computer into the trains’ onboard computer system.

“Our customers won’t see the new trains running around the network as the testing is currently being undertaken between midnight and the early hours when the network is closed. However, there will be testing in daylight hours later this year.

“Thousands of inspection criteria need to be met, and fault free running targets achieved before Nexus officially accepts the trains and we put the first one into service. All of the teams involved in testing are working tirelessly. It’s a historic project for Metro to bring a new fleet of trains into service and we are making sure we get everything right.”

The plan is for the fleet to enter service in phases with all 46 due to be running by 2025.

This entry was posted in Tyne and Wear Metro. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Testing continues of new Metro fleet – but project confirmed as five months behind schedule

  1. daveid76 says:

    It’s amazing how unamazed I am at the delay. Add at least two years to every single light rail project in the UK to get the real completion date. And that’s just the ones that don’t get cancelled.

    West Midlands Metro Brierley Hill extension: due 2023. Then 2024, then only half the line, then “late 2024” with the second half being split into two further parts. 2025 I’ll bet. Eastside extension due 2025 now 2027 and Curzon St station 2029. Wolverhampton station extension due 2020, 2021 2022. Finally opens 2023. Westside extension a year late.

    Blackpool extension of 600 metres: due 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023. Probably 2024

    Sutton Tram extension: construction to commence 2022 for 2025 opening. Put on hold, now cancelled. Not a single tram extension in 23 years.

    Manchester Metrolink: no news on anything

    Sheffield tram-train: Magna station due 2022. No news. Re-routing of system in city centre: cancelled.

    DLR: Ongoing construction of lines from the mid-80s til 2011. Nothing since.

    Edinburgh Trams: opened five years late and only partly completed. Newhaven part of the original plan opens nine years later, “on time”. Granton section still
    not constructed. Enquiry into original debacle now over after nine years and costing £13 million.

    South Wales Metro: tram trains a year late so far.

    As for the 20 new UK light rail systems promised by John Prescott c.2000…

Comments are closed.