Metro service likely to remain suspended all day as overhead line repairs continue

Services on a section of the Metro system are expected to remain suspended for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 12:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 12:40 pm
Repair work under way

The line between St James and Wallsend is closed due to ongoing repairs to a downed 500 metre section of overhead line in the Chillingham Road area.

A frequent replacement bus service, the number 900, is operating in the affected area and Metro tickets are being accepted on all local bus services. Customers travelling in that area should allow extra time for their journeys.

Repair work under way

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Metro services have resumed between Benton and Wallsend as usual after a 600 metre section of overhead line that came down between Palmersville West Monkseaston was repaired on Tuesday.

Nexus engineers are working round the clock to repair the overhead line at Chillingham Road but the operator says the repairs are complex and the train involved in the incident requires a complex recovery operation.

Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: "Our focus is now on the repairs at Chillingham Road so that we can resume services between St James and Wallsend.

"Our engineering teams are at site and are working round clock on these repairs. The repairs are complex and it will take time but we will keep passengers updated. In the meantime we have a replacement bus service running and ticket acceptance on local buses.

Engineers on the line

"We have completed our repairs in the West Monkseaton area and services are now back on between Benton and Wallsend.

"Customers can either use replacement buses or use their Metro tickets on local buses but they should leave extra time if travelling in the affected area.

“I’m grateful to customers for their patience during this period of disruption and I’m sorry for any inconvenience caused.

"The most likely cause of the failures was a train bringing down the overhead line from which it normally draws power. We are busy procuring a new £362million train fleet which will hugely improve reliability and cut the risk of delays like this. We are also investing more than £20million in replacing overhead power lines throughout the network. The trains and overhead power lines are two of the oldest assets Metro relies on and underlines the need to continue to invest in Metro now and in future.

"We will be going ahead with a planned closure of the line between Monument, Hebburn and Brockley Whins this weekend as part of separate £8million project to replace tracks through to South Shields. We did look at postponing this but it would cost an extra £1.2million to do so at such short notice, and as a public body we cannot justify that cost when all the plans are in place and contractors mobilised, including frequent replacement buses.

"Once again, may I say sorry to you if you have been caught up in this week's disruption, and assure you that everyone connected with Metro continues to work had to deliver a convenient, reliable service now and for the future."