Praise for Metro workers after 'biggest every recovery operation' following Storm Arwen
Metro bosses have praised staff who mounted their biggest ever recovery operation to restore services in the wake of Storm Arwen.
Nexus Chief Operating Officer Martin Kearney said maintenance teams had ‘worked a miracle’ to repair damage inflicted by the worst storm to hit Metro in 41 years of operations.
The 90mph storm halted the entire system and crews had to deal with fallen trees and downed overhead wires in multiple locations, working around the clock in freezing conditions to restore the bulk of services by this morning.
“This was one of the worst winter storms to hit the Tyne and Wear Metro in its history, but our maintenance teams rose to the challenge magnificently, pulling off our biggest every recovery operation,” said Martin Kearney.
“My thanks go to our customers for their patience during that period of major disruption and to all of our employees who have worked so hard.
“They’ve really worked a miracle given the unprecedented scale of the damage that they found.
“It’s testament to their skill, dedication and professionalism that we have been able to get the system back on its feet so quickly, and in time for the start of the working week.
“The big challenge was having to undertake repairs at so many different sites. There were fallen trees at seven locations and it caused power lines to be torn down.
"In some instances more than just one tree had fallen on to the tracks. Resources were stretched like never before.
He said the operator was in talks with the Government about funding to tackle the problems caused by trees near the line.
“The storm led to an unprecedented number of trees falling across Metro lines,” he said.
"We are already in discussion with the Department for Transport about the future funding required for Nexus to continue to maintain and renew Metro’s infrastructure, and the way we manage vegetation forms a key part of that ask, so we can ensure that ageing trees do not undermine the safe and reliable operation of our system.
“Our people are used to working in all kinds of weather, but the freezing conditions in the aftermath of the gales were particularly brutal, and yet they got through an astonishing workload on Saturday and on Sunday.
"I’m proud of them.”