Metro passengers faced more disruption today due to a power supply problem - but network chiefs hope to have it fixed by tomorrow.
For the third day in a row, trains were unable to run between the Brockley Whins and Pelaw stations after a power cable was damaged.
Network Rail has taken full responsibility for the problems on the line that it owns.Nexus spokesman
The problem has left passengers relying on a replacement bus service between the stations.
This morning, they faced further misery as snow and bad weather led to a number of traffic accidents on roads throughout the area – causing delays to the bus service.
A Nexus spokesman said: “Network Rail has taken full responsibility for the problems on the line that it owns and manages between Sunderland and Newcastle this week and it has apologised to passengers.
“We have pressed it throughout to make repairs as quickly as possible.
“We have monitored the delivery of replacement bus services by our Metro operator DB Regio closely. There were frequent buses in both directions.
“Some were held up by a road accident near Pelaw station around 9am, but no one was left stranded.
“Metro has provided a good service across the rest of the network this week and we expect to see that continue.”
It had been hoped the problem would have been fixed in time for today’s commuters - but it could now be tomorrow.
A spokeswoman for Network Rail said engineers were expected to work on through the night on rectifying the issue.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, who has campaigned for a better Metro service, said: “Passengers who use the Metro are totally fed up. “Reliability is appalling, which has resulted in people missing hospital appointments, some having their pay being docked as they are late for work, and others who have caring responsibilities incurring serious problems due to the way the transport system is performing.
“Worse still, the information to passengers remains poor, meaning people are not sure when faults will be resolved, when trains will be up and running again or even where to go for replacement bus services.
“As I have stated previously, there needs to be some accountability in the system.
“Nexus, DB Regio, Network Rail, the North East Combined Authority and the Government all play a part in the Metro, yet no one has been able to get a grip on the problems.
“I am meeting the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport at the end of the month, where I will be pushing for an end to DB Regio’s contract and the urgent investment needed for our outdated rolling stock.”