METRO passengers in South Tyneside face big disruption over the Easter weekend when a four-mile stretch of track is closed.
Nexus, which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, is carrying out a four-day major line closure in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland to allow for multi-million pound modernisation work.
The closure is taking place between Gateshead Stadium and Hebburn and Brockley Whins stations from Good Friday, until Easter Monday.
The modernisation work will, for the first time in 30 years, see a major section of Metro’s overhead power supply system replaced.
The overhead line is vital for supplying the electricity that powers trains, so the work cannot be done safely without closing the line.
The work is part of the £385m Metro ‘all change’ modernisation programme, which will transform the system in an 11-year programme that includes new-look stations, refurbished trains and miles of new cable and track.
When the line is closed, a frequent replacement bus service, the 900, will be in operation calling at or near all affected Metro stations.
Passengers are advised to allow extra time to complete their journeys if travelling on the affected route.
Metro services to all other destinations will be running as normal during the closure, while trains will provide a shuttle service between South Shields and Jarrow and South Hylton and Brockley Whins.
The Northern Rail train service between Newcastle and Sunderland is not affected by the work, and will continue to operate over the Easter weekend.
Nexus director of rail and infrastructure, Ken Mackay, said: “I apologise to passengers for closing these major sections of the Metro system over the Easter weekend.
“The work is vital for our £385m modernisation programme. It will ensure Metro’s future for many years to come.
“This is our first major replacement of the overhead power supply system.
“These wires carry high voltage power so we have to stop the trains in order to carry out the work safely.”
In total Nexus has invested more than £150m modernising Metro since April 2010, with the programme including major infrastructure works, new smart ticket systems and the refurbishment of trains and stations.
The Metro: all change modernisation programme is the largest series of capital projects on the system since it opened more than 30 years ago.