Tyne and Wear Metro celebrates 40th anniversary as it looks forward to 'bright future'
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said the network was a regional icon which has become one of North East England’s most successful transport projects.
Metro has carried 1.5 billion passengers over four decades of operations.
Events marking the occasion include a virtual Metro depot tour, the launch of a new online Metro game, and the first original Metrocar 4001 has been painted in a special 40th anniversary colour scheme.
Managing Director Transport North East, Tobyn Hughes, said: “We’re enormously proud that the Tyne and Wear Metro is celebrating its 40th year.
“I’m sure that August 11, 1980, is a day that will live long in the memory for those who were there, and since then Metro has become a part of everyday life for thousands of people, who rely on it to get to places of work, school, college, and for leisure activities.
“The Metro is undoubtedly one of our region’s greatest post-war achievements.
"It’s a source of immense pride, affection, and is the envy of other UK cities.”
He added: “The Covid-19 crisis has brought new challenges to us but I’m determined that we can now get back to business as lockdown lifts.
“My thanks go to our customers who travel with us every day, and our workforce, who do such an amazing job, day in, day out, to keep the trains running.
"Here’s to the next 40 years.
“Metro has a bright future. We are looking forward to getting our new trains in 2023 and beyond that we remain committed to extending the network.”
The local politicians and Tyne and Wear PTE staff, who made the Metro become a reality, did so in a bid to reduce local road congestion.
Building work began in 1974 and the first passenger services were running by August 1980.
The official opening by Her Majesty the Queen took place the following year, on November 6, 1981.
Nexus brought the Metro to South Shields in 1984, to Gateshead in 1981, to Newcastle Airport in 1991, and to Sunderland in 2002.