Stadler has committed to collaborating with Newcastle University on a variety of projects, underscoring its commitment to the north east region. This follows the announcement in January that Nexus had awarded the Swiss train-builder the contract to build, deliver and maintain 42 new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro.
Newcastle University and Stadler have formally agreed to work together on a broad range of initiatives, signing a ‘memorandum of understanding’ to endorse their partnership. The Swiss train-builder has a contract to build 42 new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro and to service and maintain them for 35 years, demonstrating its support of the regional economy, local jobs and the supply chain in Tyne and Wear.
The two organisations’ pledge to collaborate with each other relates to all aspects of the new trains programme, including the technology and knowledge required for their construction, as well as for maintaining them at Gosforth depot in Newcastle. Joint projects will cover several areas, incorporating research, education and innovation. Although the initiatives have not yet been confirmed, they are likely to cover energy conservation at a systems level, condition monitoring and driver-training. The agreement is for five years, to be reviewed thereafter.
Stadler has pledged to support the regional economy and involves as many Tyne and Wear-based companies and institutions in the new trains project as possible. It is keen to use local suppliers for materials and services required for the depot re-build, the manufacturing of the new trains and the ongoing service and maintenance of both the legacy fleet and the new trains. Next year, it will for the third time be the headline sponsor of EMCON, the annual regional networking event at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. Committed to nurturing talent, Stadler will invest in its workforce, providing employees with the education and training needed for 21st century trains.
Rob Baxter, managing director of Stadler Rail Service UK, commented: “Stadler is very pleased to have signed this agreement with Newcastle University. Both our business and the university put a premium on research, education, innovation and enterprise, and I look forward to a successful partnership, which I am confident will enhance and enrich the two organisations.”
Dr Roberto Palacin, Reader in Transport Futures, Newcastle University, said: “I am delighted that our relationship with Stadler is formalised through this MoU to closely collaborate in specific innovative projects
related to the design, operation and maintenance to the new Metro fleet as well as enhancing our educational offer in engineering, providing a long-lasting positive impact to our city, region and beyond.
Metro Development Director, Neil Blagburn, added: “In Stadler we have appointed one of the best train builders in the world and this new agreement with Newcastle University really underpins their commitment to our region and their investment in our local economy as they gear up to build the new Metro train fleet. “I have no doubt that joint working with the university on research, education and innovation will be hugely
beneficial. It builds on the work that the Open Lab team has already done to give over 20,000 people a say on what the new trains should be like. “Collaboration and knowledge sharing is vital and ensures that the development of our new trains, and our partnership with Stadler, leave a positive and lasting legacy for many years to come.”