Key business organisations in the North East have called on the government to replace Tyne and Wear Metro’s fleet of trains over growing concerns of reliability, resilience and capacity.
The light rail system has the same rolling stock from when it was launched in 1980 and Nexus – in collaboration with the The North East England Chamber of Commerce, Confederation of British Industry and Federation of Small Businesses – is rallying support to encourage the Department for Transport to finance a new fleet.
The metro operator said the current trains are some of ‘the worst-performing of their kind’ and that the cost of maintaining the fleet will grow sharply if they are not replaced.
Nexus has a detailed £400 million business plan for a new train fleet and associated depot upgrades, which it said is worth more than three times the financial investment in terms of ongoing benefits to North East England.
Confederation of British Industry’s regional director Sarah Glendinning said the metro is vital for the area and that businesses are ‘concerned about the capacity and resilience of local infrastructure’.
The Federation of Small Businesses’ north east development manager Simon Hanson added, ‘The age of the Metro fleet and its reliability problems are becoming more of a concern.
‘It is impossible to imagine the North East without Metro but we need to see investment if it is to continue to thrive and support the economy of our towns and cities.’