All change for Metro to benefit future generations

20 August 2014  •  Author(s): Raymond Johnstone, Director of Rail and Infrastructure of Nexus.

Raymond Johnstone, Director of Rail and Infrastructure of Nexus.

Raymond Johnstone, Director of Rail and Infrastructure of Nexus.

The Tyne and Wear Metro is the busiest light-rail system in the UK outside of London, carrying 37 million passengers a year through five districts, including the cities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Sunderland. With 60 stations, and a total route length of 77km, Metro is a major part of the public transport network in North East England. Nexus, the public body which owns the Metro system, is into the fifth year of a £389 million modernisation programme. Director of Rail and Infrastructure of Nexus, Raymond Johnstone, gave us an update on the project.

Metro is an iconic part of everyday life in our region. When the system was built in the late-1970s it was a brilliant feat of urban transport planning and a triumph for local politicians, who successfully persuaded the Government of the day to finance the project. Metro began carrying passengers in the summer of 1980, with the original network complete in 1984, and new lines added in 1991 and 2002. By 2005 it was clear that the Metro system was in need of fresh investment. A successful business case was presented to UK Government ministers and by 2010 the Department for Transport (DfT) agreed a £350 million funding package for the wholesale renewal of the system over 11 years, with a contribution from local authorities bringing the scheme up to £389 million. The ‘Metro: all change’ modernisation programme was born. Alongside the infrastructure modernisation, the programme includes refurbishment of trains and stations to modern standards of accessibility and amenity, and replacement of life-expired lifts, escalators and canopies.

The importance of the programme cannot be underestimated. Metro carries 37 million passengers a year. The benefit-cost ratio of investment is about eight to one – a £2.5 billion return on £389 million – compared to the economic impact of Metro declining, leading to shrinking travel to work areas, 10,000 fewer visits into the city of Newcastle daily. Metro ensures that 15 million car journeys are taken off the region’s roads every year, which reduces congestion. Metro is vital for getting people to places of work and leisure. The aim of the project that we are undertaking is to ensure that Metro is around for the benefit of future generations.

The rest of this content is restricted to logged-in subscribers. Login or register (it's free!) to view the full content.

Leave a reply