Proposals to introduce new Tyne and Wear Metro trains from 2020 and reopen disused lines have been presented by the North East Combined Authority.

The 20-year, £1 billion ‘Metro and Local Rail Strategy’ includes new trains to replace the 36-year-old fleet and aspirations to reinstate disused and under-utilised railway lines to bring Metro services to towns like Ashington, Peterlee and Washington.

The authority said it will now look at the financial and technical feasibility of the strategy and build a business case for the plans, which it hopes to submit to the government before the end of the year.

The lines identified include some that already operate limited passenger services, some that are solely used by freight traffic and some disused lines where the alignment remains intact.

Just over half of the £1 billion (£550 million) would be used to buy new trains and carry out the associated power supply upgrades and investment Metro Futures map July 2016in depots.

Nexus, the Tyne and Wear region’s Passenger Transport Executive (PTE), said it would look to procure a new fleet of multi-system trains capable of operating on the Metro’s 1.5 kV DC electrification system and the 25 kV AC used on the national rail network. Battery technology is also being considered for short sections of non-electrified line.

A spokesman for Nexus said the new units would allow Metro services to operate on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) and any future electrified routes, which could include the Durham Coast Line, Hexham-Carlisle route or a re-opened Leamside Line.

Tobyn Hughes, managing director for transport at the Combined Authority, said: “We believe some existing and disused local rail corridors can be combined with Metro to create a single network at a lower cost than new-build railways, By fusing local rail and Metro together we can create something new and better than the sum of those two parts.

“There are also areas where the existing Metro system can be upgraded, and the system is badly in need of a new fleet. This opens the possibility of a new Metro fleet working seamlessly alongside regional trains depending on the route and stations being served.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. So the bidders (such as Siemens, Bombardier, CAF & Hitachi) could build the brand new Tyne & Wear Metro rolling stocks to replace the current Tyne and Wear Metro rolling stocks with the newer rolling stocks to be built in 2018-2019 or in 2020’s. Plus the new rolling stock will have air-conditioning and all other features that the manufacturer is willing to build the new rolling stock vehicles for Tyne and Wear Metro.

  2. I think the traction package is the key to the new trains. Batteries are mentioned and jumping gaps, which would save time, money and grief, given Network Rail’s record with electrification. But the biggest saving with batteries or some form of onboard energy storage is that it enables regenerative braking, without any special equipment at the lineside. Some figures have shown as much as 15% in energy for a train.

    I don’t know the Metro will, but are the tunnels large enough to take a slimmed down Aventra or Class 700, which would surely reduce design and certification costs?

    I do think that because of the way new Metro trains have gone in the UK and the rest of the world in recent years, that one company will produce a train, that will be superb and last as long as the current trains have.

    • In the short-to-medium term, the only use I can see for an onboard battery package is for self-recovery purposes. Metro’s planning seems quite ambitious, bearing in mind the likelihood of them actually receiving the go-ahead for a lot of their proposals.

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