Watch the sliding step design revealed to improve access on new Metro trains
An automatic sliding step that will transform accessibility on the Tyne and Wear Metro’s new trains has been revealed for the first time.
Part of Nexus’s new £362m Metro fleet, the sliding step design will automatically be deployed from the beneath the door every time a train pulls into a station, closing the gap between the platform. It then automatically retracts before the doors close and the train pulls away.
By eliminating the gap between the train and the platform edge, it’s hoped it will make boarding easier and safer for passengers – particularly the Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair users, as well as people with children’s buggies, luggage or bicycles.
New photos released today (February 21) show the new boarding system, passenger saloon and driver cab doors being put through their paces as final assembly of the new Metro trains continues.
Both the sliding step and the doors are being made by German company, Bode Die Tur.
Metro’s operator, Nexus, and the Swiss train builder Stadler, who are manufacturing the 46 new Metro trains, conducted an official inspection of this piece of technology during a visit to the Bode factory where they tested the sliding step and doors ahead of them going into full production.
New Fleet Project Manager at Nexus, Sarah McManus, said: “It was fantastic to see the new automatic sliding step in operation. This piece of technology is a key feature of the new Metro train fleet that will transform accessibility for thousands of customers.
“The sliding step works by providing seamless boarding from platform to train. It removes the gap between the train and the edges of the Metro platform when it deploys.
“We are delighted to share the first images of the Metro’s sliding step and we looking forward to seeing it in operation again when the first new train arrives in our region at the end of the year.”
The first new train unit will then undertake a programme of testing and driver training with a view to it entering customer service in the summer of 2023.
The new trains, which will be 15 times more reliable and will cut energy consumption by 30 per cent, will also have modern features including charging points and air conditioning.