The operator of the Tyne and Wear Metro, Nexus, announced the three companies that remain in the running to design, build and maintain its new train fleet.
CAF, Hitachi Rail Ltd and Stadler are invited to make best and final offers this summer and the winner will be announced in January 2020.
The winner will have to deliver 42 new trains, which will transform the passenger experience of the Metro system.
The successful bidder will design, build a fleet of 42 new trains and will provide maintenance services for 35 years. In addition, a new depot will be constructed at the existing site in Gosforth, Newcastle. The winner will also be responsible for maintaining the current fleet of trains to ensure there is a smooth transition between the old and new fleet between 2022 and 2024.
A detailed specification takes account of consultation with more than 3,000 Metro passengers in 2016 and 2017, followed by market engagement with train builders to refine the plans. The shortlisted bidders are challenged to design trains which will operate efficiently and robustly, supplying a step change in Metro availability and performance, with a bright modern appearance.
The new trains will improve passenger flow and dwell times at stations through improved seating layouts, wider doors and stand-back areas, wide aisles, and a layout to encourage flow of passengers through the vehicle.