Work starts to upgrade signalling and tracks on Metro line between South Shields and Chichester
Metro passengers travelling to and from South Shields by train faced a slight disruption in their journey as work to upgrade signalling started between the two stations.
As of today, South Shields Metro Station is out of use to commuters for the next month.
A replacement bus service has been put in place between the two stations.
The Metro line will run as normal from Chichester towards Newcastle and Sunderland.
This morning was the first day of months of disruption for commuters as work to carry out track and signalling upgrades are carried out so trains can serve the new interchange when it opens in 2019.
Chichester saw more passengers than usual leaving from the station this morning, but passengers seemed to accept their morning commute may take a little longer than normal.
One Metro passenger heading to Newcastle for work from Chichester said: “It’s the first day and everything seems to be going okay, but then the Metro doesn’t seem to have the best track record, so we will see how things go as the work continues.
“There’s plenty of Metro staff around to help people and there has been a lot of notice about the closures. It is a little bit more busier than usual but nothing to get really angry about.
“I don’t think it’s going to make the trains anymore busier as most people who are travelling from South Shields to Chichester for the Metro would have already been on it.”
A number of Metro staff could be seen at both stations to help guide passengers alighting the Metro to continue their journey to South Shields by bus, or heading to the Metro from Chichester.
One man who was heading to Gateshead from South Shields said: “I don’t get the Metro that often and it would just be my luck this is the week I need to use it.
"But the Metro staff have been really helpful. It’s just one of those things and it’s only one stop. I think it would have been different if the route was going further, it would be more of an inconvenience.
“Everything seems to be going fine so far and there’s not that many people waiting for the bus that you aren’t going to get on it.
"I’m not sure what else they are supposed to do to make things run smoothly for people. If work needs to be done, it needs to be done.”
The work will continue from Sunday November 4, when Metro trains will be unable to call at platform two at Chichester until the interchange works are completed in August 2019.
Construction of the interchange, which forms Phase Two of the Â£100million South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan, began in April.
It will provide South Shields with a landmark new building housing both the Metro and bus concourses under one roof.
For more information about the Metro visit www.nexus.org.uk/metro/modernisation