The first train of refurbished Tyne and Wear Metrocars has entered service at Sunderland station, starting a run to Newcastle International Airport, Nexus has announced.
The first modernised train, made up of two refurbished Metrocars, boasts a completely new interior and sleek metallic grey and black colour scheme.
It entered timetabled passenger service at 5.40am at Sunderland station and will operate throughout today on the line between Sunderland and Newcastle International Airport.
The train, made up of Metrocars 4041 ‘Harry Cowans’ and 4072, is the first of Metro’s fleet of 90 trains to be refurbished as part of the £385m Metro: all change modernisation programme being delivered by Nexus, which owns and manages Metro.
The interior of the train has been redesigned. New seating, lighting and flooring have been installed, giving the train a cleaner, brighter and more modern appearance. The new layout allows for improved wheelchair access.
The new colour scheme still incorporates the iconic bright yellow brand colour of the Tyne and Wear Metro. The new livery will replace the current ‘red, green or blue’ Metro train liveries, which date back to the mid 1990s.
Director General of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “I’m pleased to say we now have the first two refurbished carriages in service as part of our £385m Metro all change modernisation programme.
“This is a significant investment in our rolling stock and passengers can look forward to brighter, cleaner and more modern looking trains, with a new colour scheme.
“The carriages have new seating, improved lighting and a slightly different lay out to make best use of the available space, which will improve wheelchair access.”
DBTW, which operates trains and stations on behalf of Nexus, is delivering, as part of its contract, the ‘three-quarter life’ refurbishment, which is being carried out by WabTec in Doncaster, a company which has carried out similar projects for London Underground trains.
The refurbishment programme is being managed by DBTW against rigorous timescales, while ensuring it has no impact on the day-to-day operation of Metro, which requires more than 80 of the fleet at peak times.
The new train livery dovetails with the new grey uniforms issued to all Metro staff over the last few months.