A series of special tests have been taking place to ensure that the Tyne and Wear Metro’s new trains perform correctly at their full customer capacity.
The crush laden testing checks that the new trains work as they should do when the carriage is full.
It has involved one of the new Stadler trains being loaded with 39 tonnes of ballast to simulate a maximum customer loading.
Containers of sand were used to replicate the weight of a full carriage before the train was put through its paces on a series runs across the Metro network during the night.
The tests went well, and it was another step towards getting the first new train into full customer service.
Stadler, the Swiss train building company, is working with Nexus on this latest phase of the £362m programme, known as testing and commissioning, which covers nearly every single component on the trains.
Head of Fleet and Depot Replacement Programme at Nexus, Michael Richardson, said: “Crush load testing is a critical part of getting the first new Metro trains ready for our customers.
“The test ensures that the train can perform safely and correctly when it is full. This was replicated by loading the carriage up with almost 40 tonnes of ballast cartons and then putting it through its paces on the system.
“We checked how it performed under braking and on the curves when its full capacity was replicated.
“I am pleased to say all the crush laden tests went well and the new train performed as exactly we expected it to.
“Testing the new Metro fleet is a really detailed process. We are going through around 90,000 different checks and are leaving no stone unturned as we get the first train ready to welcome customers next year.
“The Stadler trains are going to be transformative, and we are really excited to get them into service. They have been shaped by customers, employees, trade unions and specialist user groups. We believe this to have been the most far-reaching consultation yet staged into a new train design. Over 23,000 customer responses have helped to shape the design.”
Claudius Oblasser, project manager for Stadler, added: “This period of comprehensive tests on the local network is an essential stage in the process to deliver high spec, high quality new trains. They will be a game-changer for the passenger experience.
“Crush load testing is carried out through physical tests, involving loaded trains to simulate passenger weight, and mathematical calculations that use industry-approved formulae, based on weight per square metre. It is another essential component of the testing process.”
Tens of thousands of detailed tests are taking place to get the new Metro train fleet ready for customer service, in what is one of the most important projects in the network’s history.
A total of around 90,000 individual tests are required, with checks on everything, from seats and windscreen wipers, to more big-ticket items like brakes, CCTV, doors, wheels, and power supply.
There are around 19,000 hours of training time, with the full new train fleet of 46 trains needing to complete 37,000 kilometres as part of the fault free running phase of the project. There are around 22,000 standards and clauses to comply with and 480 staff to train up.
The testing process is to ensure that the new trains work safely and seamlessly with Metro’s 60 stations and 77 kilometres of track.