Nexus starts biggest engineering project on Metro since the system was built

Engineering works
10 March 2011


Nexus, which owns, manages and is modernising Metro, is kicking off the biggest single engineering project on Metro since the iconic light rail system was built more than 30 years ago.

Nexus is carrying out the comprehensive modernisation of the line between Byker and Tynemouth as part of the £385m Metro all change programme.

Graphic of major line closureTracks will be replaced, stations modernised, bridges repaired, embankments strengthened and miles of new cables installed.

The work between Byker and Tynemouth will bring to £38m the amount Nexus has invested in modernising Metro in the current financial year alone.

Nexus is spending more than £500,000 per day on the upgrades during a 23-day line closure. Contractors will be employing up to 500 staff to work on the site right round the clock.

It is the largest renewal project on the Tyne and Wear Metro network since it was constructed in the late 1970s.

Director General of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “This is the biggest engineering project we’ve seen on Metro in more than 30 years. We’re modernising stations, laying new tracks, renewing Victorian embankments and upgrading bridges.

“It is part of the £385m Metro all change modernisation programme, which will ensure that Metro has a world class future.

“The works that are taking place will be on a massive scale. We are spending over half a million pounds per day during the 23-day line closure. Hundreds of workers will be on site working right around the clock.

“The sheer scale of the works left us with no choice but to close the line. It does mean some disruption but the work is vital if Metro is going to continue meeting the needs of the people of Tyne and Wear and its economy for years to come.”

The modernisation works between Byker and Tynemouth involve:

• The replacement of 12 kilometres of track

• The laying of 23,000 tonnes of new ballast

• Refurbishments at Howdon, Meadow Well and Chillingham Road stations

• A major station rebuild at North Shields

• 300 metres of embankment works

• Seven Metro bridges to be renewed or repaired

• Renewal of the track and deck on 19th Century Howdon Viaduct

The work will mean the complete closure of the line between Byker and Tynemouth for 23 days, from Saturday March 12 to Sunday April 3. A frequent replacement bus service, number 900, will ensure passengers experience as little inconvenience as possible.

The work at North Shields Metro station, used by two million passengers a year, is a multi-million pound project. The new station will have a bigger and better concourse building, lifts to platforms for the first time and an eye-catching new look with ‘floating wave’ canopies above platforms.

The current North Shields station building will be closed and demolished when the major line closure starts. The station will re-open at the end of major line closure with passengers using temporary entrances at the foot of the platforms.

More than 14,000 passengers a day use the line between Tynemouth and Byker. Most of the route was first used as a railway in 1838, making it one of oldest commuter lines in the world.

A second Major Line Closure of 23 days will be needed in the next 12 months to continue the works between Byker and Tynemouth.



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