Little Inventors bring fun to Metro

Competition winners Lily and Eva
18 May 2022

A seat just for dogs, a Metro carriage just for kids, an app for visitors and a ticket booth that gets people moving were the winning ideas in a competition ran by Tyne and Wear Metro for young inventors.

Nexus, who operate Tyne and Wear Metro, worked with creative education organisation Little Inventors on the Metro Invention Challenge. Primary school children from across Tyne and Wear were invited to invent something that might make journeys on Metro even more fun.

The Challenge, funded by Arts Council England through its National Lottery Project Grants programme is part of Tyne and Wear Metro Community Takeover, a programme of activities celebrating Metro’s 40-year anniversary, in 2020. The programme, which includes other art, dance, music and creative projects, has been extended due to the pandemic.

The winning inventors were:

  • Lily Kenyon, age 10, who invented the Mettie Mash Virtual Tour Guide, giving customers information on the sights they were passing on the Metro;
  • Eva Browell, age 9, who invented the Super Ultra Pup Seat to make sure dogs feel at home on Metro;  
  • Maddie Wilson, age 11, who invented the Move and Groove ticket dispenser which gives active customers 50% off their ticket price if they move or dance before buying their ticket
  • Eden Armstrong-Kirtley, age 7, who invented the Metro Fun Park, a Metro carriage just for children, with a ball pool, climbing frame and bouncy castle.

The prize included the winners seeing their designs transformed into 3D graphics, by Newcastle based animator Gary Pogue, which were then installed in large poster sites at Longbenton, Heworth and Gateshead Stadium Metro stations, and on advertising sites on Metro trains

All four winners also visited Nexus’ print room to see their designs printed in large scale, before they were installed in the stations.

Eva said: “My invention was inspired my dog Jasper, who I think would like a Super Ultra Pup Seat on the Metro. It has compartments for water and treats and the seat is high enough so the dogs can see out of the window. I can’t wait to see the big posters in the stations.”

The Super Ultra Pup Seat also attracted the interest of some high-profile names, and Eva appeared on Claudia Winkleman’s BBC Radio 2 show talking about her invention for Metro, along with businesswoman, entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Sarah Davies.

Inventor of the Move and Groove Ticket Dispenser, Maddie, said: “I invented this because I thought it might encourage people to use the Metro because it’s fun to use and it means they will get a cheaper ticket. It also helps keep them active and healthy which is important.

It’s really exciting that my design is going to be in the stations and on the trains, I’m looking forward to going to see it.”

Huw Lewis, Nexus’ Customer Services Director said: “Art has featured on Metro in a wide variety of ways over the last 40 years, and this was an opportunity to really encourage some creativity in our younger customers.

The winning designs are innovative, full of fun and would no doubt be loved by some of our customers, and their dogs!”

Dominic Wilcox, founder of Little Inventors said: “We want children to open their eyes to the world of invention and creativity, and give them the opportunity to work with designers, artists and organisations to bring their imaginations to life.

We had some fantastic entries to the Metro Invention Challenge, the level of thought and detail which went into them was brilliant. It’s great to see a large organisation like Nexus offering opportunities like this to local children, and the fact that four of them can now see their work in stations and on trains, along with thousands of other travellers, is fantastic.”

See more about the Metro Invention Challenge here: Metro Community Takeover : Little Inventors



See the winners talking about their inventions and watching their designs being printed

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