Stadler has been awarded a contract worth up to £700m over 35-years for the supply and maintenance of an initial 42 trains to Tyne and Wear’s Metro network.
The Department for Transport is providing £337m to Nexus, the Newcastle-based transport authority, towards the cost of the programme which will deliver trains up to 2024. The initial order for trains could increase to 46 if Nexus increases the frequency of Metro services.
“We asked for the best trains for the best price – based on what local people said they wanted to see, providing excellent reliability for years to come, transforming the passenger experience and delivering huge energy savings. Stadler has delivered on all fronts,” said Tobyn Hughes, managing director of Nexus.
As part of the deal, Stadler will build and operate a £70m maintenance facility at an existing Metro depot site in South Gosforth, Newcastle. Nexus will lead the construction of a satellite depot at Howdon, North Tyneside.
According to Nexus, Stadler will deliver the contract – which includes decommissioning the existing Metro fleet – with over 30 new supply chain partners in the UK’s advanced manufacturing, technology and construction sectors, with half of them in North East England.
In a statement, councillor Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council and Chair of the Joint Transport Committee for North East England, said: “These new trains will be rooted in our region – they are designed based [on] what more than 3,000 passengers told us what they wanted from their daily journey.
“They will be built and brought into service by exploiting manufacturing excellence in new supply chains here in North East England and across the UK. They will be maintained and operated by the proud workers who make Metro happen.”
The decision to award the contract to Bussnang, Switzerland-based Stadler has been described by trade union Unite as ‘especially galling’ with Hitachi Rail’s factory at Newton Aycliffe located in the region.
Pat McCourt, Unite’s regional officer said: “It is essential that new procurement rules are immediately introduced to put UK manufacturing first.
“The failure of Hitachi to be awarded this contract which is on its doorstep is a huge blow to the local community, which has been severely neglected for the last decade.
“The UK leaves the European Union at the end of the week and the government must stop hiding behind competition rules, to ensure wherever possible our manufacturing industry is in the box seat in bidding for future contracts.”