Major £100m Metro line upgrade tipped to provide 'huge boost' for South Tyneside businesses
A £100million project to improve Metro services on South Tyneside will bring a “huge boost” for businesses, community leaders have said.
The Metro Flow project will see an existing freight line upgraded and electrified to make it capable of carrying Metro trains.
Three sections of single track between Pelaw and Bede Metro stations will be dualled from September 2022, allowing trains to run in both directions simultaneously for the first time.
Nexus says the move will remove the stoppages caused by drivers having to wait for permission to proceed, freeing up more space in the timetable and making it easier to expand the service and add new stops and routes.
Council leaders and traders have thrown their support behind the project, which got the final funding approval from the Government in August.
A total of £95million has been secured from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund, which has also allowed it to order an extra four new trains, bringing the total new fleet to 46.
South Tyneside’s Lead Member for Housing and Transport, Coun Jim Foreman, said: “We’re delighted to have worked alongside Nexus to have secured Transforming Cities funding for this project which will deliver huge benefits to South Tyneside and the wider region.
“The improvements will increase capacity and efficiency on the Metro system as well as promoting sustainable transport and supporting our decarbonisation agenda.
“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.”
South Tyneside Chair for the North East England Chamber of Commerce, Alan Metcalfe, added: “This has the potential of being a huge boost for the businesses in South Tyneside in that they can draw on potential new employees from a market that previously was untapped due to infrastructure shortfalls.
"This will have a massive impact on the economy of the area as more realise what a good place to work, and to visit, South Tyneside is.”
Coun Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “The Metro Flow project will be truly transformational for people using the Tyne and Wear Metro service every day to get to work, education or leisure destinations across the region.
“It will offer improved journey times across the entire Metro system so I’m sure this will encourage more people to consider public transport as a clean, safe and reliable way to travel.”
Nexus says benefits include:
• Increasing the frequency of Metro trains to one every 10 minutes outside central areas;
• Delivering capacity for an extra 24,000 passengers a day;
• Improving 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;
• Unlocking the door to the expansion of the Metro system.
The sections of line are located between Pelaw and Hebburn (800 metres), Hebburn and Jarrow (1.4km) and Jarrow and Bede (600 metres).
The Metro Flow project will be carried out by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, who won a £55million tender for the construction stage of the project.