The current global Coronavirus pandemic is already causing issues to transport across the world as fewer people travel with various restrictions in place and it is likely that this will continue to be an issue for some time as people’s travelling habits take a long time to resume back to pre-lockdown levels – if, indeed, they ever do. Another likely affect for transport is that various construction projects will fall behind schedule, which will include the building of new vehicles. Connected to this the Newcastle Chronicle are reporting that the fairly recently announced new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro are already behind schedule.
At a meeting of the North East Joint Transport Committee’s Tyne and Wear sub-committee, John Fenwick, head of finance at Nexus, said: “It is fair to say that Stadler Rail did have one or two issues and problems when Covid-19 hit in terms of the recruitment of key personnel to drive that project on. It is also fair to say that while the two teams here in the North East of England and Switzerland have been liaising with each other using medium like Microsoft Teams, the progress in terms of moving the design forward has probably been a little less than we would have expected had we not had to encounter the Covid-19 emergency. We are confident that we can make up time and that project is definitely still going ahead and we absolutely need to ensure that we do make up that time.”
The original plan was that the first trains would arrive in Tyne and Wear in 2023 with all old trains replaced by the fleet of modern Stadler vehicles by 2024. It is hoped that this schedule will still be able to be met but the project is already meeting challenges which should be able to be resolved in due course.