Nexus’ plans for the future revealed at Royal Grammar School lecture

The Tyne and Wear Metro will look a lot more like London’s Tube system – and passengers will be able to access the internet during their journey, according to a Nexus official.

Nexus’ Transport Strategy Director Philip Meikle revealed the company’s plans to revamp the light rail system at a talk hosted at Royal Grammar School last night (Wednesday 7 November).

At the talk, organised by the Northumberland & Newcastle Society, Meikle detailed the specifications for Nexus’ new fleet of trains, which will include inbuilt WiFi, acclimatisation, improved ‘crashworthiness’ and an “incredible performance uplift.”

The new fleet will also see London Underground-style seating, with the ability to walk from one end of the train to the other.

Nexus will purchase 42 of these new trains, enabling them to run with a frequency of a train every 10 minutes – one more every hour than their current capabilities.

The current trains are some of the “oldest” in the world that are still in use, with some dating back to the 1970’s.

In June , Nexus reported that they had “secured Government grant funding of £337m towards the projected £362m cost of designing and building a new Metro train fleet and a new train maintenance depot,” with the remaining three bidders for the project being listed as CAF, Hitachi Rail Ltd and Stadler.

The newly-developed maintenance depot will be situated in Gosforth. The depot forms part of the Metro’s five-year “Flow Project”, which will see them convert existing freight lines into dual use tracks, easing congestion on the rail network.

Meikle said that the project will allow the Metro system to account for “30,000 further passengers a day”, adding to their 36 million annual riders in 2018/19.

The project is being touted as a boost to the local economy, as “every [Metro] journey is worth £8.50 to the local economy.” The enhanced rail network will give “enhanced access to jobs”, whilst “reducing road congestion and pollution.”

The talk was held at Royal Grammar School‘s Miller Theatre, and forms part of a series of talks by the Northumberland & Newcastle Society.

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