Two Metro stations have been featured in a new book titled ‘Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations’.
Tynemouth and Jesmond stations both appear in the book alongside a host of other iconic train stations across the UK.
The book was written by the authoritative Simon Jenkins, a former chairman of the National Trust, deputy chairman of English Heritage and founder of the Railway Heritage Trust, who travelled the length and breadth of Britain to compile the book.
Four local railway stations appear in the book alongside Tynemouth and Jesmond, they are Newcastle Central Station, Durham, Hexham and Darlington.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, welcomed the fact that two of its stations have been so heavily featured in Jenkins’ book.
Customer Service Director, Huw Lewis, said: “It feels appropriate that if there are two Metro stations among the 100 best then one should be a Victorian masterpiece and the other modern.
“Our Victorian predecessors are recognised for pride in their railways, but the same was true of the civic leaders and engineers who had a vision in the 1970s for what Metro should be.
“We have always sought to live up to that legacy, so we are honoured that Simon Jenkins, while singling out Jesmond and Tynemouth, also mentions St Peter’s in Sunderland and Haymarket as examples of Metro stations from this century that maintain that tradition of strong design.
“The people who built Metro wanted it to have a powerful and instantly-familiar appeal, and that can be seen in the look and feel of stations, the branding, and the typeface devised by Margaret Calvert we still use today.
“Forty years on these key elements of Metro’s identity have become iconic, and this is increasingly being recognised. We saw, for example, one of our earliest public art commissions, Parson’s Polygon in Newcastle city centre, was listed last year.”
Jesmond makes a surprise appearance in the book, given that it is a more contemporary train station which first opened to the public in 1980.
Jenkins likes the Metro system which, he says, is “second only to the London Underground in urban transit design”, and he name checks Haymarket, Four Lane Ends, Pelaw, St Peter’s and Northumberland Park stations.
His favourite is Jesmond, with its black and plain glass flooding the interior with light, the view from the inside of the surrounding trees, dramatic abstract mural, and ornamental garden flanked by obelisks – “it is all faintly surreal,” he says.
The other Metro stop in the top 100 is Tynemouth, accommodated in the 1882 station by North Eastern Railway architect William Bell.
The original stone-built Tynemouth station by Benjamin Green still stands near the William Bell version, which Jenkins describes as “a winter garden wonderland, a feast of Victorian ironwork. One hundred columns march into the distance beneath a rolling canopy of roofs.”
A double staircase leads to a curved footbridge, and there is a tiled wall map of NER territory.
At weekends the station market pulls in the crowds, and it becomes ”what every good station should be- the life and soul of its community,” says Jenkins.