Metro chiefs say staff worked in ‘horrible weather’ as customers faced eight different service cuts in a matter of hours as Storm Ali battered the region.
Storm Ali cause widespread disruption up and down the country and saw winds reach 90mph nationwide and up to 60mph in the North East.
Metro services between South Shields and Pelaw were subject to major delays yesterday afternoon and early evening as fallen trees between Hebburn and Bede stations forced the service to be suspended in both directions.
Tobyn Hughes, managing director at Nexus, said staff worked in ‘horrible weather’ to clear at least eight disruptions to overhead power lines caused by falling trees and other debris.
But he said Metro lines beat national rail services in the race to resume services following disruption caused by the storm.
This morning he told also told members of the North East Combined Authority’s Overview and scrutiny Committee an ‘almost’ full service had been resumed on the Metro by 5.30pm.
However, trains between South Shields and Pelaw were still interupted and did not restart fully until about 6.30pm, according to the Nexus Twitter feed.
Speaking at the meeting at Gateshead Civic Centre, he said: “Because of high winds across the North and particularly the North East we had eight separate incidents where our overhead power line was disrupted by falling trees or plastic sheeting blowing around and lead to suspensions of service and had great impact on passengers.
“Despite the really quite horrible weather, [our staff] were out removing obstructions and making sure the system was back in service as quickly as possible.
“By about 5.30pm we had almost all Metro services restored – unlike the rest of the rail network, which was disrupted very late into the night and continues this morning.”
As well as the Metro, bus routes and roads were also disrupted, while the Shields ferry was out of service for much of the day.
Western Approach was closed amid fears that high winds could lead to fallen trees and accidents on the busy dual carriageway.
Thousands of homes nationwide were left without power as Storm Ali battered Britain and Ireland.
The London North Eastern Railway (LNER) had disruptions and changes to services the length of the East Coast Mainline between London and Aberdeen, while in other parts of the country speed restrictions were in place due to the weather.
And South West England and Wales are braced for more disruption in the coming days when Storm Bronagh rolls in, with other parts of the country expected to be affected as it heads east.