The first of the new Tyne and Wear Metro trains will be late arriving in the North East.
Transport chiefs have revealed a setback in the delivery of the first train in the Metro’s hotly-anticipated £362m fleet.
It had been due to arrive in the region early in December, but that has been pushed back into the new year.
The delay to January 2023 has been blamed on a “busy period” for pre-Christmas engineering works that makes it harder for the train to get across Europe and the UK’s rail network.
Metro operator Nexus told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the hold-up is not expected to affect the time when the train will be brought into passenger service, which remains for now as autumn 2023.
Manufacturing giant Stadler is building the new fleet in Switzerland and the first train has been for testing in the Czech Republic recently.
Once in use, they should be a major upgrade on the Metro’s current, decades-old stock.
They will boast 21st century features such as air conditioning, wifi, and phone charging points, and should be 30% more energy efficient.
It is hoped that all 46 of the new trains ordered will be here by the end of 2024, though Nexus says this may now take until 2025.
Major projects director at Nexus, Cathy Massarella, said: “The first of Metro’s new trains is ready for delivery to Gosforth depot in January, ahead of a rigorous programme of testing on our system before it enters passenger service later next year.
“This is an historic moment for the future of Metro which we know our customers are looking forward to seeing. The delivery must be planned carefully and has not been done before, with the new train arriving by rail across Europe and the UK before being transferred onto the Metro system and on to the Gosforth depot.
“We were hoping the train would arrive in December, but we’ve agreed with Stadler to put this back until after Christmas so delivery doesn’t overlap with a busy period for engineering works across the rail network. Stadler aim to have all of the new Metro train fleet here by late 2024 or early 2025.
“Like many people in North East England we’re excited to know the first new Metro train for more than 40 years will soon be with us, and can soon begin test runs on our own network.”
Earlier this week, it was announced that a new Metro depot built by Stadler in Gosforth is now up and running.