New book looks back at 40 years of the Metro

A local author has written a new book on the Tyne and Wear Metro which celebrates 40 years of the network after he was inspired by his late father who worked as an engineer on the project. “The Tyne and Wear Metro” is written by Colin Alexander and published by Amberley Books.

Colin spent 15 months writing and researching the book, which delves into the history of the Metro over the past 40 years. He has drawn on the testimony of many former staff who were involved when the network first opened in 1980.

Speaking about the book Colin said: “I always really wanted to do a book about the Metro because of my dad, Jack, who spent so many years working on that iconic project. It also seemed fitting to do it in the year that the Metro celebrated its 40th anniversary. I’m so proud of what my father achieved during his time with the PTE. He was an engineer who joined them in 1973 after he was made redundant at the shipyards. He went on to work on the rolling stock and he was there for 20 years before he retired. This inspired me to delve into the history of the Metro, from what was there before, to how it became a concept and was constructed, and then extended over the years.”

The book looks at the past, present and future of the network, including an exploration of the decline of the BR suburban lines that were replaced by the Metro as well as the phased opening of the system from 1980. It also looks at possible future extensions and has memories of significant events during the history of the network such as the Royal opening in 1981.

Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: “The Tyne and Wear Metro has an amazing story and this book tells that story really well, with archive images and memories from former staff who built a transport system which has become part of everyday life in our region. It is fitting that the book has been published in Metro’s 40th anniversary year. It was a network built against all the odds and stands as a major post-war achievement that remains the envy of other UK cities. The people who made the Metro a reality were pioneers and this book celebrates that success, as we look ahead to a bright future with the new trains coming in 2023.”

The Tyne and Wear Metro by Colin Alexander is published by Amberley Publishing with a RPP of £15.99. It is paperback with 96 pages including 140 illustrations. The book can be purchased from various retailers.

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