Cash for cable work to help keep Metro services on track

Metro service have been hit by delays due to overhead line problems.
Metro service have been hit by delays due to overhead line problems.

The cause of Metro misery could be over and done with as part of a £35million injection of cash to improve the system.

More than 185miles of power lines across the network will be replaced during the next five years, including those which run through South Tyneside, in the next phase of the £350km

The issue has been the cause of delays and disruption across the service, including an incident in October which meant no trains ran for eight hours between South Shields and Hebburn, leaving passengers to catch the 900 replacement bus service.

An investigation was launched the following month after lines came down between Heworth and Monument, with engineers working through the night to restore trains.

The equipment revamp will support other efforts as part of regeneration of the scheme, including plans to replace a series of key track junctions between Pelaw and South Shields in the 2018/19 financial year.

Tyne Dock station is to also be modernised this summer, while plans to revamp Chichester are in the design stage, with funding to be sought later.

Passengers were left waiting at Brockley Whins Metro station for a bus replacement service after issues with powerlines on the service in November.

Passengers were left waiting at Brockley Whins Metro station for a bus replacement service after issues with powerlines on the service in November.

South Shields is already set to get a new transport interchange and Metro terminus as part of the town centre’s £100million regenation project.

Director of rail and infrastructure, Raymond Johnstone, said: “We are pressing on with modernisation projects worth a total of £35million in 2017 as we continue to secure the long term future of the Tyne and Wear Metro system.

“There are some major schemes, not least the track the replacement work, which will mean some disruption to passengers while we carry out the work.

“However, this will mean that we have a Metro system for many more generations to come.

There are some major schemes, not least the track the replacement work, which will mean some disruption to passengers while we carry out the work.

Raymond Johnstone

“The investment is absolutely vital so that we replace ageing pieces of the infrastructure, which will be of benefit to the 39 million passengers who travel on Metro every year.”

Other areas to be improved through the next section of the All Change programme, now in its sixth year of its 11-year programme, will include track replacement work between Wallsend and St James, track replacement work between Longbenton and Northumberland Park and the installation of a new Metro bridge over Killingworth Road.

Nexus will be investing £110 million through to 2021 on modernisation projects.

This will bring total investment across the decade to over £350million.

Nexus is in discussion with the Government over funding for its plans to invest £537million in a new train fleet, and for a further £518.5million to continue with the programme of essential renewals throughout the next decade.

This forms part of the Metro and Local Rail strategy agreed by the North East Combined Authority to ensure the long-term future and development of Metro and local rail services within the region.

More than £200million has already been invested in Metro since All Change began.