A major programme of track renewal is to take place on Metro lines in the Gosforth area of Newcastle as part of ongoing works to get the network ready for the arrival of the new trains at the end of the year.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, is to replace tracks and a key track junction between South Gosforth and Regent Centre.
The work will see sections of track, sleepers and ballast completely replaced at a key access point which serves the current Metro depot – and which will serve the new £70m depot on the same site when completed.
To deliver the project in the safest, most cost effective and least disruptive way the works will be carried out over two weekends – 12-13 February and 5-6 March. On Each weekend there will be no Metro services operating between Airport and South Gosforth.
A frequent and accessible replacement bus service will run in the areas where Metro trains are not running.
Major Projects Director at Nexus, Cathy Massarella, said: “We are carrying out vital track renewal work between Regent Centre and South Gosforth over two weekends as part of our modernisation programme.
“We are replacing a key section of line which serves the Metro depot. The junction there will be vital for getting the new trains in and out of the new £70m Gosforth depot, which is really starting to take shape.
“These works will secure the future of Metro for many years to come.
“There is no good time to close a large section of the network, but we are working at weekends when customer numbers are lower in order to keep the level of disruption to a minimum.”
During both weekend closures Fawdon level crossing on Fawdon Lane wwill be closed to traffic and a diversion will in place. The crossing will remain open for pedestrians to get across.
The Government has provided funding for Nexus to invest in Metro’s infrastructure in order to secure the long-term future of the network, and to get it ready for the first new train arriving at the end of this year.
Stadler, the Swiss train manufacturer, is building 46 new Metro trains for Nexus.
The new Metro trains, which will be 15 times more reliable and will cut energy consumption by 30%, will have modern features including charging points, air conditioning and a step-change in accessibility.
Among the new features will be an automatic sliding step at every door of the new trains, making travel easier for Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair passengers as well as people with children’s buggies, luggage or bicycles.