Nexus is less than two weeks away from starting the biggest and most complex modernisation projects in the history of the Tyne and Wear Metro, meaning the busiest section of line will be closed for 27 consecutive days.
From Sunday 4 August until Friday August 30 there will be a major line closure between Haymarket, Airport and Four Lane Ends to allow for multi-million pound modernisation work.
The closure is a key part of the £385m Metro: all change modernisation programme, a once in a generation investment to ensure the region has a reliable Metro system for many decades to come.
It will have an impact on services throughout the Metro system and passengers are advised to plan journeys in advance, allow extra journey time and make use of the replacement bus services in the areas where trains are not running.
Station posters and public address announcements will be used to remind passengers about the closure, along with updates on Metro’s Twitter and Facebook pages and nexus.org.uk. Metro staff will be handing out information leaflets at stations as the start date draws nearer.
Nexus is carrying out the line closure during August because it is the quietest possible time of the year to do the work, with the schools and universities off and generally fewer passengers using the system.
Director General of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “It's not long until the 27-day major line closure gets underway. It will mean disruption for passengers and I’m sorry if anyone is inconvenienced.
“Closing the busiest section of the Metro system for so long does mean upheaval, but it is vital so that we can replace a key section of track in as short a time as possible. It will mean we can deliver a high quality Metro service for the next 50 years.
“Passengers need to plan their journey in advance and allow extra time if travelling by Metro. The closure will have an impact on the entire Metro system, even in the areas that will remain open.
“There will be frequent replacement buses between Airport, Haymarket and Four Lane Ends, and there will be an express service for people who need to get to Newcastle Airport.”
There will be extra trains between from Four Lane Ends via the coast to St James to provide people living in North Tyneside with an alternative route to Newcastle city centre. There will also be peak time Metros operating to and from Longbenton Metro station.
Trains will still be frequent between Haymarket, South Shields, and South Hylton, but additional rush hour trains normally running will operate to a revised timetable with some frequency reduction.
Frequent replacement bus services will be provided, calling at or near stations on the affected route and there will be an express Airport shuttle bus. Other local bus services will not be accepting Metro tickets and passes, if customers opt to use these services.
The major line closure will see six kilometres of Metro track replaced between Jesmond and South Gosforth, a section that sees 30,000 passengers journeys each day, 450 train movements and a service every three minutes in peak periods.
Stations will be refurbished and cable routes replaced on the line all the way up to Newcastle Airport.
When the major line closure ends on 30 August, Nexus will be doing far fewer line closures through the autumn and winter, with the number of hours of planned works cut by half this year.
A further but much shorter line closure will be needed within the next two years on the same stretch to renew the 150-year-old embankment along the track.
Passengers can also get updates from the Tyne and Wear Metro Facebook page or by calling Nexus on 0191 20 20 747