Nexus has unveiled the new livery for Metro trains as the first refurbished Metrocar returns to the region after a major refurbishment.

Metrocar 4041, the first of 90 to be stripped down and refitted by a specialist engineering firm in Doncaster, has a sleek light metallic grey and black finish, incorporating the iconic bright yellow brand colour of the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The new colour scheme will replace the current ‘red, green or blue’ Metro train liveries, which date back to the mid 1990s, when the fleet last underwent its half-life refurbishment.

Metro trains, which are more than 30 years-old, are being completely upgraded as part of the £385m Metro: all change modernisation programme over the next 11 years.

The trains are being transported by road to Doncaster, where they are being completely stripped down, refitted and repainted. The carriage interiors and drivers’ cabs have also been replaced and refitted.

Nexus, which owns and manage Metro, has commissioned the project as part of the £385m Metro: all change modernisation programme.

DBTW, which operates trains and stations on behalf of Nexus, is delivering, as part of its contract, the ‘three-quarter life’ refurbishment, which is being carried out by WabTec in Doncaster, a company which has carried out similar projects for London Underground trains.

Director General of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “I’m very pleased to have the first refurbished train back with us and to give the public a chance to see the new colour scheme.

“Over the next five years our trains will be going down to Doncaster to be modernised and repainted. This is an integral part of our exciting £385m Metro all change programme.

“Not only will the carriages be getting a smart new paint job, but they’ll be transformed inside as well. We are looking forward to getting the new look train back into service very soon and passengers can be assured that there will be more to follow.”

Richard McCean, Managing Director of DBTW, Richard McClean, said: “It is very exciting to welcome the first of the refurbished Metro cars back onto the network. The new colour scheme will tie in with our new uniforms and over time passengers will see more and more refurbished Metro trains in service.

“This refurbishment is challenging logistically as we need to ensure there is no disruption to service. Once passengers see the new design, we hope they will be just as impressed with it as Metro is and enjoy the new Metro look.”

The first Metrocar to be chosen for refurbishment was 4041, named after the late Gateshead Councillor and MP Harry Cowans in honour of the work he did in the 1970s to get the Tyne and Wear Metro built.

The refurbishment programme, which will continue until 2014, is being managed by DBTW against rigorous timescales, while ensuring it has no impact on the day-to-day operation of Metro, which requires more than 80 of the fleet at peak times.

The new train livery dovetails with the new grey uniforms issued to all Metro staff over the last few weeks.