The first new Tyne and Wear Metro trains have been completed by Stadler and are about to enter a crucial period of testing.
Nexus, the public body which owns and operates Metro, said that first two new trains were now ready to roll off the production line in Switzerland.
They will now go through a rigorous process of what is known as dynamic and static testing.
The trains will then be sent to a larger test track in the Czech Republic to be put through their paces, and this is when some of the Metro drivers will get their first chance to drive one.
New photos from the Stadler factory show the new Metro trains show the modern new carriage interior, with all of the new seats and handrails installed, complete with the iconic Metro logo.
The first new train is set to arrive in North East England before the end of the year.
Head of Fleet and Depot Renewal at Nexus, Michael Richardson, said: “I’m delighted to say that the first couple of new Metro trains are complete and are about to roll off the production line over in Switzerland.
“Stadler will then need to put the trains through a testing phase which will take a few months.
“Once that is complete the first new Class 555 Metro train will be ready to be brought over to the UK, which will be a historic moment for the Tyne and Wear Metro and for our region.
“These new trains are going to deliver a step-change in quality for our customers when they start entering full service next summer.”
Stadler is building a total of 46 new Metro trains for Nexus, which will be delivered up to 2024.
The new trains will deliver a step change in comfort and quality, will cut energy consumption, and will have modern features including charging points, air conditioning and a step-change in accessibility.
Among the new features will be an automatic sliding step at every door of the new trains, making travel easier for Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair passengers as well as people with children’s buggies, luggage or bicycles.
Stadler is also close to completing a new £70m Metro depot at Gosforth in Newcastle, which will be a modern new home for the new Metro trains.