Stadler, the Swiss train manufacturer that is building 42 new trains for the Tyne & Wear Metro has taken over responsibility for servicing and maintaining the old Metro fleet in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Tyne & Wear Metro is run by public body Nexus, and 120 Nexus staff based at Gosforth depot in Newcastle upon Tyne transferred to Stadler on 4 October 2020.
At first, Stadler will be maintaining the current fleet, but the new trains are set to be introduced into passenger service from 2023 and the service and maintenance contract lasts for the next 35 years.
While the work to look after the legacy fleet will be undertaken at the existing depot in Gosforth, which dates back to the era of steam locomotives, this will be replaced by a brand new one for the new trains, with construction work starting later in the year. The new purpose-built depot represents an investment of £70 million as part of the £362 million fleet replacement programme.
Jürg Gygax, chief executive of Stadler’s service division, commented: “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, added: “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.”
Martin Kearney , chief operating officer at Nexus, concluded: “Stadler is 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 £70 million 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.”
The new depot will ensure maximum availability and reliability of the fleet for decades to come. It will vastly improve the working environment and become home to a wide range of activities, including preventative and corrective maintenance, overhauls and train presentation. There will be storage for spare parts and material supplies and office space for training and support functions.