A major programme of modernisation work will close the Tyne and Wear Metro’s busiest lines through the centres of Newcastle and Gateshead for two consecutive weeks next month.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, needs to replace essential overhead power lines as part of a £30m programme of wire renewals across the network. It will get the network ready for the introduction of a new train fleet, which will transform the customer experience by 2025
A total of 16,000 metres of contact and catenary wire will be replaced over a 5.5km section of line.
The major line closure will mean that there are no Metro services between Heworth and Regent Centre / Four Lane Ends for 14 days - Monday 15 February to Sunday 28 February.
Services will resume as normal on Monday 1 March.
Frequent replacement bus services will be provided during the closure, calling at or near stations on the affected routes. Customers are advised to plan journeys in advance. Click here for more information about the bus services.
Major Projects Director at Nexus, Cathy Massarella, said: “We are investing £30m in Metro’s overhead lines. This is a once in a generation piece of modernisation work. It will mean we can deliver a high-quality Metro service for many years to come and it gets our network ready for the introduction of the new trains.
“As part of this renewal programme we have to carry out a two-week major line closure on the busiest lines that run through the heart of Newcastle and Gateshead.
“There is no good time to shut such a big chunk of the network, and this modernisation work can only be undertaken effectively during an extended closure period. I apologise to our customers in advance for the inconvenience this will cause.
“Overhead wires are critical for the Metro system to operate. They are where the trains draw their high voltage power from.
“The power lines in our central area are ageing. They face the most wear and tear on a daily basis and they need to be replaced as soon as practically possible, which is why this work is booked in for February.
“We will ensure there is a fast and reliable replacement bus service running when the Metro line is shut. We advise passengers to plan their journeys in advance before travelling.”
The work is being packed into a two-week period to avoid months of weekend closures, and because the power lines in Metro’s busy central area are in urgent need of modernisation.
Sections of overhead line in Metro’s central area tunnels deep beneath Newcastle city centre will be replaced during this project.
Frequent replacement bus services, including express buses, will be provided during the closure, calling at or near stations on the affected route. All Metro tickets will be accepted on the buses, numbers 900 / 901 / X900 / X901.
There will be extra trains between from Four Lane Ends via Whitley Bay to St James to provide people living in North Tyneside with an alternative route to Newcastle city centre.
Metro trains will still be running in other areas, including: Airport-Regent Centre; St James-Four Lane Ends (Monument east/west remains open); Heworth-South Shields; Heworth-South Hylton.
Ten Metro stations will be closed during the works: South Gosforth, Ilford Road , West Jesmond, Jesmond, Haymarket, Monument north/south platforms only, Central Station , Gateshead, Gateshead Stadium and Felling.