LAST week’s total failure of the Tyne & Wear Metro system has highlighted an apparent strategic weakness in its design, which makes it vulnerable to complete shutdown.
The network’s only depot, located in South Gosforth, is where all 90 trains are serviced and stored overnight.
As a consequence, any power failure there will leave the entire Metro fleet stranded in its own garage.
This is what happened last Sunday, when a power outage at 5:30am in Gosforth resulted in the suspension of all services until late in the evening.
Metro spokesman David Punton confirmed this to SR News, saying: “The electrical sub-station that served the depot suffered a major fault and we were unable to move trains out of the depot to provide a Metro service.”
Despite this ‘eggs-in-one-basket’ approach, Mr Punton confirmed Nexus, the executive body running the Metro system, does not plan to change its strategy.
Rather than build a second depot elsewhere in the network, a plan is in place to create a new depot at the current South Gosforth site if a funding bid is granted by the government.
The bid, totalling £362 million, is being discussed with the government and if successful this year, Nexus says improvements could be in place by 2021.