The Metro Flow project will see an existing freight line upgraded and electrified in South Tyneside from September 2022, making it capable of carrying Metro services, boosting the capacity for an extra 30,000 passenger journeys every day.
Three sections of single track totalling three kilometres will be dualled between Pelaw and Bede Metro stations.
Benefits of the Metro Flow project include:
• Increasing the frequency of Metro trains to one every 10 minutes outside central areas
• Deliver capacity for an extra 30,000 passengers a day
• Improve reliability and allow quicker recovery from major disruptions
• Better support for major events including the Great North Run, Sunderland International Airshow, stadium concerts, and major sporting events
• Unlock the door to the expansion of the Metro system
There are three single-track sections on the Metro network, where trains must use the same line in both directions.
The sections of line are located between Pelaw and Hebburn (800 metres), Hebburn and Jarrow (1.4km) and Jarrow and Bede (600 metres).
These pinch points are the only remaining sections of the Metro network that is like this and it is something that is highly unusual for a mass transit system.
Single track sections effectively creates a traffic light problem - with drivers having to wait for the green light each time they make a journey along these sections of single track.
Because this is already one of the busiest rail networks in the UK anything more than an extra few seconds can cause knock-on delays right across the Metro network.
With so little slack in the system it also makes it difficult for Metro to expand with little headroom in timetables to add additional stops and new routes.
By converting the three outstanding sections to dual tracks Nexus can solve this problem.
The Metro Flow project is something Nexus has done before. Metro was created and then expanded by upgrading neglected rail routes to create a modern mass transit system.
This project would see an infrequently used freight line upgraded and electrified so both Metro and freight trains could share the route in future - just as they do in other parts of the Metro network right now.