Nexus Set For Crunch Talks

The planned procurement of new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro are at risk of being stalled, according to local councils. The current life-expired trains are almost 40 years old and still operating an intensive service beyond their original service life of 30 years. “Reliability has become a problem”, Nexus conceded, although the most recent refurbishment of the Metrocars aimed to extend their life to 2025.

90 Metrocars, which run coupled together, will need to be replaced before 2025 and Nexus have set goals in the past to have a new fleet in service by 2021. However, crunch talks between Nexus and the Department for Transport are due to take place on 31 July where three funding options will be discussed. Local council officials would be wary about accepting any funding that involves private investment as this would leave Nexus in an expensive long term contract and, having just rid the Metro of its private franchised operator, Nexus is not too keen on selling its soul once again. Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon has said is he willing to reject a Private Finance Initiative that could cost the tax payer more in the long run.

With the government reluctant to invest in infrastructure – especially in the North – combined with their natural dislike for publicly owned services, Nexus and council officials should expect difficult talks. If necessary, Nexus must be prepared – as Cllr Gannon has advised – to turn down detrimental funding offers and carry on as normal, even if it means having to cope with life-expired trains.