The list of bidders to build the new fleet of trains for Tyne & Wear Metro has been narrowed to just three firms, operator and manager Nexus has announced.
CAF, Hitachi Rail and Stadler will be invited to make “best and final offers” this summer after Nexus completed its evaluation of initial tenders submitted by each firm.
The winning bid will be announced in January 2020. Nexus expects to see the first new trains arriving in late 2021, from which point the phased withdrawal of its existing Metro fleet will begin.
Nexus managing director Tobyn Hughes said: “We are down to the final three bidders. Each firm has a proven track record of building trains for railway systems throughout the world.
“We have carefully evaluated the bids and will now begin the final stage of the process where bids will be refined. Bidders will then come back with best and final offers and we will sit down and pick a preferred bidder.
“The winner will then start the task of designing and building 42 new trains, which will transform the passenger experience of the Metro system.”
The three remaining companies are vying for a contract to design, build and maintain a fleet and maintenance facilities that will serve Metro for 35 years and which will see a new depot constructed at the existing site in Gosforth, Newcastle. The successful bidder will also be responsible for maintaining the current fleet of trains to ensure there is a smooth transition between the old and new fleet between 2022 and 2024.
Tyne & Wear Metro’s new trains will feature improved seating layouts, wider doors and stand-back areas, wide aisles, and a layout to encourage the flow of passengers through the vehicle and reduce dwell times at stations. There will be improved digital connectivity for passengers and air conditioning.
The cost of designing and building a new Metro train fleet and a new train maintenance depot is projected to be £362 million, with the Government providing £337 million of that through grant funding.