Plans to invest £337 million in Metro rolling stock are to be welcomed.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond made the announcement as part of his Budget speech this week and the money is to be used to replace 40-year-old trains with a brand-new fleet.
Nexus will issue a formal notice in January, inviting firms to tender for the contract, followed in April by a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire, enabling it to evaluate the suitability of the bidders.
Tenders will be submitted and considered between June and September 2019 and a contract is expected to be issued in February 2020, with the first new rolling stock to be delivered late in 2021.
Replacement of the entire fleet of 84 trains is expected to take another two to three years.
I welcome the news that the Government has at last given a commitment to fund the replacement of the Metro’s failing rolling stock, something I have campaigned for with colleagues for many years.
However, there was nothing in the budget to address the underlying issues Sunderland has with high unemployment, low wages and the impact of the enormous cuts this Government has inflicted on our people.