The Tyne and Wear Underground will be much more like the London Underground system – and passengers will be able to access the internet while traveling, according to a Nexus official.
Nexus Director of Transportation Strategy Philip Meikle revealed the company’s plans to revamp the light rail system at a conference held at the Royal Grammar School last night (Wednesday, November 7).
At the conference, hosted by the Northumberland & Newcastle Society, Meikle detailed specifications for Nexus ‘new train fleet, which will include built-in Wi-Fi, acclimatization, improved’ shock resistance ‘and’ improved incredible performance ”.
The new fleet will also see London Underground style seats, with the ability to walk from one end of the train to the other.
Nexus will purchase 42 of these new trains, allowing them to run at a frequency of one train every 10 minutes – one more train every hour than their current capacities.
Current trains are among the “oldest” in the world still in service, some dating from the 1970s.
In June, Nexus announced that they had ‘secured a government grant of £ 337million for the projected cost of £ 362million of the design and construction of a new fleet of Metro trains and a new train maintenance depot ”, with the three remaining bidders for the project listed as CAF, Hitachi Rail Ltd and Stadler.
The new maintenance depot will be located in Gosforth. The depot is part of Metro’s five-year “Flow Project”, which will see them convert existing freight lines to dual-use tracks, thereby reducing congestion on the rail network.
Meikle said the project will allow the metro system to accommodate “30,000 additional passengers per day”, adding to their 36 million annual passengers in 2018/19.
The project is presented as a stimulus for the local economy, because “each [Metro] trip is worth £ 8.50 for the local economy. The improved rail network will provide “better access to employment”, while “reducing road congestion and pollution”.
The lecture took place at the Miller Theater at the Royal Grammar School and is part of a series of lectures from the Northumberland & Newcastle Society.