Metro says goodbye to its last original escalator

metro train at meadow well station
23 March 2016

Tyne and Wear Metro engineers have completed the replacement of all 28 escalators installed when the system was built in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Nexus, which owns and manages Metro has overseen the replacement as part of its £350m modernisation of the light rail system, used by more than 40 million passengers a year.

It estimates the power saved by installing new more energy-efficient escalators is equivalent to the power used by more than 300 family homes.

The last of the old escalators to go were at St James station where new ones came into use last week, in time for the sell-out Newcastle-Sunderland derby match at the football ground above.

Raymond Johnstone, Director of Rail and Infrastructure for Nexus, said: “Escalators form a short but important part of the journey for millions of Metro passengers.

“Replacing the original 28 escalators across Metro’s city centre stations and suburban interchanges has been a significant part of our comprehensive modernisation programme focussed on the infrastructure and assets that make our system tick.

“After about 35 years the original escalators were at the end of their lives – they were prone to failure and it was almost impossible to source parts when repairs needed to be made.

“The new escalators will serve Metro’s 40 million passengers for years to come, as well as being far more energy-efficient and offering accessibility features such as floor lighting.”

The replacement of escalators began during the rebuilding of Haymarket station in 2009; since then the original models have been replaced at Regent Centre, Four Lane Ends, Monument, Central Station, Gateshead, St James, Manors and Heworth.

The refurbishment of Central Station now taking place will shortly see the newer escalator from the ticket concourse to the main station, installed in 1997, go the same way as its older cousins.

All platform lifts across the system have also been replaced as part of the £350m Metro: all change modernisation programme.

© 2020 Nexus Tyne and Wear - Public Transport and Local Information.