Representatives from operator Nexus, the borough council and contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd have come together to cut the first piece of turf and mark the official start of works on site.
The scheme will see three sections of single track dualled between Pelaw and Bede Metro stations, with the most intensive period of track works taking place between September and December during a 12-week major line closure.
“Metro Flow will deliver huge benefits for South Tyneside and for the wider region; it will increase capacity, frequency and efficiency on the system. A safe, reliable and efficient public transport network is vital to boost economic growth, and to link our residents and businesses to job, education and social opportunities.
“It will also promote sustainable transport and support our move towards a cleaner, greener borough.”
Nexus Chief Operating Officer Martin Kearney said the scheme could be key to extending the network: “The Metro Flow project is going to be transformative for the Tyne and Wear Metro. It’s great to be able to mark the official start on site for these extensive track dualling works.
“When the project is completed at the end of the year the dualled track will allow us to increase the frequency of Metro services system-wide from twelve minutes to ten minutes outside of the central areas. This means more regular services, and faster journey times for our customers.
“This also gives us the scope to examine future opportunities to expand the network to other areas that are currently not served by Metro.”
Benefits of the Metro Flow project include:
:: Increasing the frequency of Metro trains to one every 10 minutes outside central areas
:: Deliver capacity for an extra 24,000 passengers a day
:: Improve reliability and allow quicker recovery from major disruptions
:: Better support for major events including the Great North Run, Sunderland International Airshow, stadium concerts, and major sporting events
:: Unlock the door to the expansion of the Metro system
The funding for the Metro Flow project has allowed Nexus to buy four more new trains on top of the 42 which have already been ordered.
Metro Flow allows three sections of single track on the Metro network totalling three kilometres to be dualled between Pelaw and Bede Metro stations.
There are three single-track sections on the Metro network, where trains must use the same line in both directions.
The sections of line are located between Pelaw and Hebburn (800 metres), Hebburn and Jarrow (1.4km) and Jarrow and Bede (600 metres).
For further information there will be two public drop-in sessions hosted by Nexus and Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, at Pelaw Metro station on Wednesday, February 2, 9am–11am and 4pm–6pm.