On 11 August 2020 Tyne and Wear Metro celebrated its 40th anniversary – having carried over 1.5 billion people since it opened in 1980.
We're celebrating in different ways though. Don’t miss the opportunity to join in our celebrations as we commemorate 40 years of Tyne and Wear Metro - regular updates will appear here and you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Time has flown since that memorable summer’s day when the network first opened to passengers.
We are sure that 11th August 1980 will live long in the memory for those who were there, and since then it has become a part of everyday life for thousands of people, who rely on the service to get to places of work, schools, colleges, and for leisure activities.
Metro is undoubtedly one of our region’s greatest post-war achievements. It’s a source of immense pride, affection, and is the envy of other UK cities.
The local politicians and PTE staff who made it become a reality, in a bid to solve local road congestion, were pioneers. They were told it would cost too much and that it may not be possible.
They held firm and they won the argument. Tunnels were driven beneath the streets of Newcastle and Gateshead. Stations and viaducts were constructed.
A new bridge was built over the Tyne and a fleet of 90 Metro trains was purchased. Building work began in 1974 and the first passenger services were running by August 1980, though the official opening by Her Majesty the Queen took place the following year, on 6th November 1981.
We brought the Metro to South Shields in 1984, to Newcastle Airport in 1991, and to Sunderland in 2002.
History of Metro
Our rail history here in the North East is unique.
George Stephenson built a number of experimental steam locomotives to work in the Killingworth Colliery between 1814 and 1826 so we have a long history in the region with the railways.
Over the last 4 decades much has changed but Metro has been here to support the North East and continue to keep people moving.
The origins of Metro date back to 1971 and a plan for a rail solution to give commuters a modern, fast and reliable route into the heart of Newcastle, to beat growing congestion around the Tyne bridges and tunnels – Metro was born.
Read the full story here: https://www.nexus.org.uk/history/how-metro-was-built