£150m already invested in Metro modernisation

Photograph: Chris McKenna
Photograph: Chris McKenna

A £150 million pounds has already been invested into the modernisation of the Tyne and Wear Metro that runs in Sunderland and across the North East.

The ‘All Change’ programme began in 2010 and Nexus are currently four years into the modernisation work that is set to improve both the infrastructure and condition of the track.

The Metro line in the North East opened in 1980 and quickly became the first rapid light rail system in Britain. Since then it has grown and carries 38 million passengers a year.

The network itself has 60 stations, many of which have infrastructure that is 175 years old, making modernisation crucial to the future of the line.

Councillor David Wood, Chairman of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority said: “We are witnessing record investment in Metro with £150m put into improving reliability and the passenger experience since 2010 alone.

“This is an example of investment achieved by the Integrated Transport Authority, which will benefit the people of Tyne and Wear and surrounding areas for decades to come.”

The process of modernisation has seen 24km of track renewed, 12 stations refurbished along with half of the train fleet and replaced 14 escalators, which are among many of the projects that make up the £389m modernisation programme.

The investment into the system is set to continue until 2021 with Nexus focusing on improving communication technologies so that passengers are not affected by closures on the line.

Raymond Johnstone, Nexus Director of Rail and Infrastructure said: “Metro’s All Change modernisation is on target and on budget, with passengers feeling the difference from a more reliable infrastructure and better quality service.”

Along with this there has been closures of the Metro lines between Pelaw and Sunderland, however this is not part of the Metro modernisation work. The line is owned and managed by Network Rail with Nexus being one of many freight systems that use it.

Huw Lewis, Head of Communication at Nexus said: “To reduce disruption to passengers, we have agreed with Network Rail to have both firms work at the same time.”

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