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£500m contract opportunity attracts over 100 businesses

More than 150 businesses attended an event at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland today (8 October) to find out how they can be part of the supply chain to deliver a contract worth £500m that will see a new fleet of trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro designed, built and maintained.

Organised by the North East Growth Hub in conjunction with Transport Executive Nexus, businesses had the chance to meet the five bidders shortlisted for the contract and the other companies who could form part of the supply chain. Businesses were able to pitch to each of the five bidders and showcase how they would make a valuable contribution to the contract.

The five bidders are Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd; Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A. (CAF); Downer EDI Rail Pty Ltd - a joint venture between Downer EDI Rail and CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. Ltd; Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd; and Stadler Bussnang AG

A whole host of opportunities are potentially up for grabs as the fleet replacement programme moves forward, from the manufacture and supply of 42 news trains to the construction of a new maintenance facility. There will also be contracts available for the decommissioning and removal of railway assets and the disposal of the current fleet.

The contracts are due to be awarded by Nexus, which owns and operates Metro, by the end of 2019.

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director, NELEP

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East LEP

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East LEP, opened the event by talking about the North East Growth Hub and wider business support on offer.

He said: "This is an important contract for the North East, which has a well-established transport sector served by a thriving supply chain. Bringing these companies together with the bidders is a fantastic way to raise awareness of the opportunity; helping organisations build their networks and find new ways to partner on lucrative contracts."

Neil Blagburn, Metro Development Director at Nexus, said: "Our investment in new trains will transform passengers' experience of the Tyne and Wear Metro. We have issued an Invitation to Negotiate to five bidders who, between them, are building trains for many of the world's biggest cities and rail networks.

"This event, organised by the North East LEP, has been an opportunity for our short-listed bidders to meet supply chain companies they could work with in the construction and maintenance of both trains and depot in the next few years, but also their ongoing maintenance for decades to come."

Invest North East England (INEE), the first point of contact for companies looking to invest in our region, also attended on the day to discuss inward investment opportunities with the bidders.

Guy Currey, INEE Director, said: "We have a comprehensive package of free support available to organisations seeking development opportunities in the North East of England. This event showcased the talent and supply chain infrastructure in the region, demonstrating exactly why this is a good place to live, work and grow a business."