A Metro driver is putting the new Metro train fleet in the frame on his very own YouTube channel, taking people behind the scenes of the £362m project like never before.
Craig Pearson has become an ambassador for the Metro Futures project as it enters its most significant phase, with final production underway and the first new train set to arrive at the end of this year.
Craig, 39, of Gateshead, will be video blogging at key moments on the drivers’ journey to their new trains, under the title ‘That Metro Guy’.
He will be bringing people closer than ever before to the project, along with fellow Metro Futures Specialist Mick Fulcher, filming and producing their own videos, and uploading them to a dedicated YouTube channel – which you can view here: That Metro Guy Introduction - YouTube
Craig, a Metro driver of nine years, will record video clips and appear prominently on social media at key stages of the project as production ramps up, and we countdown to the new rolling stock that will transform Metro for its customers and staff.
He said: “I’m really excited to take on this new role, showcasing our new trains and new depot as they start to take shape. It’s a historic project for the Tyne and Wear Metro and I am honoured to be playing such a key role.
“I really hope that people will get enjoyment from the videos that we shoot, a real behind the scenes look at the work going on to chart the progress of this massive project, which is going to transform Metro for customers and staff.
“It will be great to see all of our hard work across the project come to fruition and have the new finished train to actually drive.
“The team will be going out to the Czech Republic later this year to test and commission the first two units and then returning to see the delivery of the first unit in the UK in November. That will begin months of heavy testing and commissioning on the Metro Network to get the trains ready and all signed off for the first unit entering passenger service in mid-2023."
Craig added: “I’ve been a Metro Driver since 2013 and took on the role of Traincrew Instructor in early 2018, which involved me training our new drivers to the high standards required to be able to pass their driving theory and practical tests.
“Through this, I was able to apply for one of only two roles of Metro Futures Specialist and being a successful applicant, began the role in February 2021. The role is to help the project through design, acceptance, testing, commissioning, and driver training stages of the project from a driver’s perspective.
“We have been heavily involved with consulting our driver workforce on what we want to see in the new cabs, where everything is placed, what we require or don’t, how the safety systems will allow us to carry out our duties better and how the train will essentially operate in all conditions and outcomes.
“The new trains will feature on-board state of the art CCTV systems for dispatching from stations, as well as keeping our customers safe while they are using the trains, and there will be new information systems to make it easier to communicate with our people on board.
“There will be live feeds of service updates, a much brighter, more accessible carriage, with more buggy and bike spaces, room for luggage or shopping bags, full air-con and heating system including, underfloor heating, and, of course, improved train reliability.
“Even if we lose power from our overhead lines, we can flip to a battery powered propulsion system to keep the trains moving. From a driver’s point of view, we will have more room, more comfort and all the latest technology to help us carry out their duties to an even higher standard than is possible now, with new safety systems integrated.
Stadler is making 46 new Metro trains for Nexus, with the first new unit set to arrive at the end of this year.
Stadler are currently fitting the main interior components on the new Metro trains as part of the final assembly process. They will deliver the first new train at the end of the year for testing and driver training, with a view to it entering customer service in the summer of 2023.
The works include the installation of wheels, seats, equipment cases, piping, wiring, flooring, windows and other internal furnishings. Works are taking place at Stadler’s state-of-the-art production line in St Magrethen in northern Switzerland.
The new trains, which will cut energy consumption by 30%, will have modern features including charging points, air conditioning and a step-change in accessibility.
Stadler is also in the process of building a new £70m Metro depot at Gosforth as part of the new fleet project.
Find out more at www.nexus.org.uk/newmetrotrains