Stadler has won the £362 million contract to build 42 trains for the Nexus Tyne and Wear Metro.
The Swiss company will deliver the trains up to 2024, with £337m of funding coming from the Department for Transport.
Nexus said the contract follows an 18-month search for the best manufacturing partner, and that more than 30 new supply chain partners from the UK will be involved in the project, with half of them from North East England.
Stadler will also build and operate a £70m maintenance facility that will be built at the current South Gosforth depot site.
The new trains, which Nexus says will be 15 times more reliable than the fleet they are replacing and will feature WiFi, charging points, air-conditioning and a sliding step at each door to improve accessibility.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “The DfT’s £337m investment heralds a new era for the Tyne and Wear Metro, providing passengers with greener, more reliable, and more comfortable journeys.
“Upgrading the Metro fleet will boost our economy, improve journeys for passengers and underlines our determination to level up opportunity and connectivity across the country.”
Tobyn Hughes, Nexus Managing Director said: “Our passengers expect the best in the world when they travel, and that is what they will get from our new trains.
“Stadler has an excellent track record building new trains for cities and regions across the world. The company will put in place new supply chains here in North East England and the UK securing local jobs. I am delighted to welcome Stadler as we make this historic £362m investment in Metro’s future.
“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 Director of Sales, Ansgar Brockmeyer said: “The contract with Nexus represents an important milestone for Stadler in Great Britain. After Glasgow and Liverpool, this is the third metro operator to opt for a Stadler vehicle. We look forward to working with Nexus and our suppliers in North East England.”
The initial order could be increased to 46 trains if plans to improve frequency via the Flow Project wins DfT funding.
For the FULL story, read RAIL 898, published on February 12, and available digitally from February 8.