Nexus outlines Metro upgrades for next year

Nexus plans to invest £35m in Metro modernisation work in 2014, but passengers will not see any major line closures planned on weekdays

Work begins on the upgrade for the Metro system at South Gosforth
Work begins on the upgrade for the Metro system at South Gosforth

The bulk of the modernisation work next year will be carried out at weekends and during the night, meaning less disruption for commuters.

There will not be a major closure on the scale of this August, when the busiest part of the Metro system between Haymarket and South Gosforth was closed for 27 days to allow six kilometres of track to be replaced.

Nexus, the public body which owns, manages and is modernising Metro, is entering into the fourth year of its £389m Metro all change programme, a Government funded scheme to provide refurbished trains, stations and infrastructure.

Since the project began in 2010, Nexus has invested almost £150m in modernisation work on the 33-year-old Metro system. As much modernisation work as possible will be packed into 2014 as Nexus continues to deliver on the targets set down by the Department for Transport (DfT).

A lot of the modernisation work will be happening behind the scenes, but passengers will see station modernisation works and the continued roll out of Metro’s new smart ticketing system, with the phased introduction of the automatic ticket gates and validators continuing.

Metro modernisation works in 2014 include:

• Replacement of Metro CCTV cameras and Public Address system;

• Track and drainage renewal at Shiremoor and Whitley Bay;

• Major programme of vegetation clearance;

• Overhead line replacement between Heworth and Hebburn;

• Metrocar refurbishment programme will pass the half way mark in the spring when the 43rd into service; of the 86 cars to be refurbished will come back

• Completion of work to install a lift at Walkergate to replace the steepest ramp on the system;

• Refurbishment of Hebburn, Jarrow and Bede stations;

• The last two escalators to be replaced at Gateshead Interchange (the shorter ones between ticket concourse and bus station), following replacement of the four main escalators in 2013;

• Works starts on the installation of a new train management system at the Metro Control Room at South Gosforth;

• Work starts to build a new radio system for Metro driver cabs.

Director general of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “A huge amount of Metro modernisation work is planned for next year. The Metro all change programme is vital for securing Metro’s future and it is a scheme which has attracted significant inward investment to the region.

“Over the last three years we have spent almost £150m on a whole range of schemes including the replacement of ageing tracks, the refurbishment of trains and stations and the installation of a new smart ticketing system.

“The next 12 months will be just as significant as we enter the fourth year of what is an 11-year project to secure Metro’s long-term future for many decades to come.”

Director of Rail and Infrastructure for Nexus, Raymond Johnstone, added: “Passengers can be assured that there we don’t need to carry out any planned weekday closures. There will be weekend line closures throughout the year but nothing on the scale of what we saw in August, when we had a 27-day closure. Much of the work will also take place at night, when trains are not running.”

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