AN event is being held to allow business leaders to meet five bidders shortlisted to design a new fleet of trains.

Supply Chain North East is offering the chance to meet those shortlisted by Nexus to design, build and maintain a new fleet of trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro – a contract worth £500m.

Those on the shortlist are Hitachi, Bombardier Transportation UK, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, Downer EDI Rail Pty Ltd – a joint venture between Downer EDI Rail and CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co Ltd and Stadler Bussnang AG.

The trains will serve a network which carries more than 36 million passengers, connecting Sunderland, Newcastle and surrounding communities.

Yesterday, The Northern Echo revealed more than 150 temporary workers are to leave Hitachi when their contracts run out at Christmas, just weeks after the Newton Aycliffe train builder lost out on a contract to build a new fleet of London Underground trains.

The event takes place on Monday, October 8. For more information, visit