The Swiss train builder Stadler has formally taken over the maintenance of the Tyne and Wear Metro train fleet and its Gosforth depot in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The official handover took place at 12am on Sunday, 4 October. A total of 120 Nexus staff based at the Metro depot have transferred over to Stadler via a TUPE agreement.
Stadler has assumed responsibility for servicing and maintaining Metro’s train fleet on behalf of Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the network. This will be the current fleet, and then the new Metro trains, which are set to be introduced in 2023.
The service and maintenance contract spans 35 years, underscoring Stadler’s commitment to the regional economy.
This follows the announcement in January 2020 that Stadler had been awarded the contract to build 42 new trains for Metro.
Work to look after the current Metro fleet will be undertaken at the existing depot in Gosforth. It will then be replaced by a brand new depot, with construction work starting later in the year. The new purpose-built Metro depot represents an investment of £70 million as part of the £362m fleet replacement programme led by Nexus.
Chief Operating Officer at Nexus, Martin Kearney, said: “Stadler are one of the best train builders in the world and we are looking forward to them delivering a new and modern fleet of trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro.
“This is biggest project in the 40 year history of the Metro and we’re all very excited to see the new trains in service by 2023, and work starting on our new depot at Gosforth in the coming months. A key part of the £300m deal that we signed with Stadler involved our fleet maintenance team transferring over to them via a TUPE agreement.
“We’re extremely proud of the job that our depot workforce carries out right around the clock to keep the Metro trains running. They will now continue this excellent work for Stadler, looking after the current trains, helping us to introduce the new ones, and transitioning us to the new £70m depot.
“It’s a new beginning but we will continue to work hand in glove with our depot teams to ensure that our ongoing success and high standards are maintained.”
Jürg Gygax, Chief Executive of Stadler’s Service Division, said: “Stadler has undergone considerable growth over the last four years in the UK, winning five tenders to build and supply new trains.
“Three of these include long-term service and maintenance contracts, which illustrate our commitment to the UK market. With partnerships with Greater Anglia and the Liverpool City Region now well established, we look forward to consolidating the relationship with our client, Nexus, and to engaging constructively with a wide range of local suppliers and stakeholders, including colleges and universities.”
Rob Baxter, UK managing director for Stadler Rail Service UK, said: “The transfer of 120 staff and service and maintenance of the Tyne and Wear Metro legacy fleet is a highly significant event in Stadler’s UK expansion, and I am delighted to welcome the new employees to our business.
“I am well aware of the critical role each and every one of them will play in our future success, and offer them a warm welcome to our organisation.”