There has been major disruption on the Tyne and Wear Metro since Monday 29th April as a result of the overhead being brought down by trains in two different areas on the Coast line. The severity of the damage has meant that no trains have been able to run between St James and Benton since it happened with warnings from Nexus that it is unlikely to be until Wednesday 1st May before a full service may resume.
The two incidents saw 600 metres of overhead coming down between Palmersville and West Monkseaton with a further 500 metres down at Chllingham Road. The repair teams have been concentrating on the section in Monkseaton first with the hope this will be completed at some point on Tuesday 30th April but the original estimate of a resumption of a limited service in this area of 1500 was not met after “some further issues with the repairs have arisen”. Trains eventually returned to the section between Benton and North Shields shortly before 1900 on 30th April. Following the completion of this work the repair team moved on to the damage at Chillingham Road with Nexus stating they would be working throughout the night and into Wednesday 1st May to repair this section. An estimate of a return for a full service hasn’t been given.
Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, made the usual apology: “I want to say sorry to the many passengers in North Tyneside and parts of Newcastle whose journeys have been delayed and disrupted. Metro has suffered two major failures most likely caused by trains bringing down the overhead lines, and while our engineers will work round the clock to repair the damage it is likely to be Wednesday before we see the service return to normal. We are doing everything possible in the meantime to keep people on the move. We have arranged for Metro tickets to be accepted on all local bus services throughout the affected area. It will take longer to make your journey and buses will be busy so please plan ahead and allow extra time. Repairs to more than 1km of overhead line equipment, including masts, will carry on through the night and Tuesday morning, and we hope to bring back the service in stages over the next two days. At Nexus we are working hard to improve the Metro service, make sure passengers get information quickly, and reduce the number of major incidents like this.”
Whilst repairs take place a normal service is running between Airport and South Hylton with a service also running from Benton to South Shields. The section of the coastal line from Benton to St James is being served by replacement buses instead with Metro tickets also valid on local bus services.
This is unfortunately the latest in a lengthy line of fairly major incidents causing significant disruption to passengers on the Tyne and Wear Metro and although Nexus do keep reminding people about the amount of investment going in to improve things it won’t help its image as a reliable way to get around the area.