Planned reopening of South Shields - Pelaw Metro line delayed by up to a week
The line has been closed since early September due to the £104million Metro Flow project to make the entire line dual track by refurbishing an existing freight line.
Altogether, 800 metres of line between Pelaw and Hebburn, 1.4km between Hebburn and Jarrow and 600 metres between Jarrow and Bede are being upgraded.
The line was due to reopen this weekend, but now operator Nexus has confirmed work will be extended by up to a week to allow contractors to complete the final stretch of overhead power lines and test safety signals across the 4.6km of route.
The line closure was planned to last 12 weeks, with the route reopening on Sunday, December 4.
A frequent replacement bus service will continue to operate to all stations until the work is finished.
Nexus Major Projects Director Cathy Massarella, said: “We are very close to reopening the Metro line between Pelaw and South Shields but our contractors need up to one more week to complete this complex project.
“I want to apologise to Metro customers who were looking forward to being back on trains at the start of next week and assure you we have a revised programme to make this happen as soon as possible.
"We’ll keep customers updated on what day next week the line will re-open.
“It is essential we do not rush the re-opening, so we must complete and test new signal systems fully before passenger services operate.
“Our replacement bus service includes a bus that calls at all Metro stations on the route and a rapid express bus from Heworth straight to Jarrow and South Shields.”
Metro Flow is the longest and biggest single project Nexus has undertaken on the original Metro network since it was completed in 1984.
Nexus says the project will improve reliability across the whole network by removing the single track ‘pinch points’ which delay trains, as well as allowing the frequency of services to be increased in future.
The organisation secured £95million from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund to deliver Metro Flow, with the work carried out by railway engineering specialists Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd.