The £30 million refurbishment of the Tyne and Wear Metro’s train fleet has been successfully completed, five months ahead of schedule.
Not only has the project given the Newcastle and north-east network a sleek smart fleet it has also helped launch the careers of two young starters, Ben Chapman, 20 and Carlene Tindale, 29. Both worked on the doors part of the project.
Carlene, from Pegswood in Northumberland, was in the Royal Air Force for 10 years before joining DB Regio as a mechanical technician.
‘During the last two years, I’ve been working on the refurbishment project, integrating as part of the project team. I am pleased to have been chosen to work on such an important project as it has such a big impact to the company and the public alike,’ says Carlene. ‘I would like to continue to expand my knowledge of rolling stock.’
The Tyne and Wear Metro is among the fastest- growing passenger operations outside London, with 38 million journeys completed every year. DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which runs the Metro on behalf of Nexus, has overseen the modernisation of 86 Metro carriages through the £389 million government- funded programme.
The trains were stripped down to their frames and corroded bodywork was replaced, extending their service life by another 10 years. Reupholstered seating and new lighting has been installed, along with a new carriage layout to afford more space for wheelchair users.
The Metro trains now sport a vibrant new colour scheme, with a sleek metallic grey and black finish, incorporating the iconic bright yellow brand livery of the Tyne and Wear Metro. The train door control systems have been replaced and a new and improved door opening and closing sounder has been installed to give passengers more warning.
The work was initially carried out by Wabtec Rail at its engineering facility in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, and was completed by DB Regio at its South Gosforth depot in Newcastle. The early finish is all down to staff effort, according to Louise Shaw, director of engineering at DB Regio.
‘It’s been a real team effort with everyone from both DB Regio and Wabtec contributing to making things happen. We have worked tirelessly on this project to see it through to completion.
From getting the cars ready to go to Doncaster, to maintaining those that arrived back at the depot, staff across the board have shown a commitment to doing the job well and, at times, going above and beyond the call of duty.’ Louise also praised Metro newcomers Ben Chapman and Carlene Tindale. ‘It’s great to see the young recruits coming on board and really showing an interest in railway engineering as a career.’