Nexus, which owns, manages and is modernising the Tyne and Wear Metro, today welcomed Transport Minister Norman Baker MP to see at first hand the progress of the £385m Metro: all change modernisation programme.
Nexus is modernising the 30 year-old Metro system over the next 11 years with funding from the Government. The money will be used to invest in modernised Metro stations, trains and new tracks, technology and infrastructure.
The Minister joined a test run on a refurbished train during the visit, from Metro’s Gosforth depot. The Metrocars are being completely refurbished, with new carriage interiors and a sleek new metallic grey, black and yellow colour scheme.
Mr Baker was then taken to see completed Metro station redevelopment projects at Benton in North Tyneside and Chillingham Road station in Newcastle.
Benton Metro station has been fitted with new lifts and a new footbridge, transforming access to the station close to a large special school.
Chillingham Road has been given a cleaner, modern appearance with refurbished platforms and ticket halls, brighter lighting and improved accessibility and security.
Director General of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “The £385m Metro all change programme is going to secure Metro’s future for decades to come. The Government is committed to the project and Mr Baker’s visit was a chance to show him the work that is taking place.
“It is an 11 year programme of modernisation that we have embarked upon. The public will see more and more upgrades to the system over the coming months and years.”
The £385m Metro: all change modernisation programme is the biggest project to take place on the Metro system since it was built more than 30 years ago.
Nexus is investing in 225 state of the art new ticket machines capable of accepting credit/debit card payments and bank notes as well coins.
Automatic ticket gates, similar to those on the London Underground, will be installed at 13 key Metro stations.
Metrocar refurbishment will see carriages fitted with a completely new interior including new seats, lights and an improved new layout. Trains are getting a sleek light metallic grey and black finish, incorporating the iconic bright yellow brand colour of the Tyne and Wear Metro.
Further Metro station modernisation projects are in the pipeline following major schemes at Chillingham Road, Benton, Howdon, Meadow Well and North Shields. The Haymarket Metro station project in the centre of Newcastle was completed in 2010.
The Metro all change programme will also involve the replacement of 60 kilometres of track, power lines, communications systems and infrastructure, some of it more than 150 years old.