Latest Rail News


Government cuts Tyne and Wear Metro modernisation funding by £33m

The government’s commitment to creating a Northern Powerhouse has come under question after the DfT revealed a £33m cut in investment to upgrading the Tyne & Wear Metro.

DfT and Nexus agreed an 11-year funding programme for Metro modernisation in February 2010, worth up to £350m, with £100m of that subject to future commitments being met. 

But the Department, having promised to invest £153m in the Metro over the next five years, wrote to Nexus after the Spending Review to say this would be reduced to £120m. 

Cllr Nick Forbes, the North East Combined Authority’s lead member for transport, said: “The government tells us that investment in transport infrastructure across the north is a top priority – but in light of a £33m cut in investment in the Metro we need to take a reality check. 

“This reduced level of investment will mean that we will have to focus on the most urgent renewal projects to tracks, overhead lines and signals and cut back our ambitions to improve the Metro.” 

He added that a number of planned projects will now have to be shelved – including accessibility upgrades to some stations. 

Tobyn Hughes, MD of Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said it is helpful to receive funding certainty for the next five years, although it is also “clearly disappointing the figure is £33m less than the maximum we had been working to”. 

“We will now need to review our priorities within the planned modernisation programme.   More positively, the DfT acknowledges the need for both a new Metro fleet and the long-term continuation of essential renewals after 2021,” he said. 

“It also recognises the Combined Authority’s ambition for expansion of the system and future integration of the Metro with the rail network, and will continue to work with us on developing the business cases to achieve these ambitions.” 

A DfT spokesperson said that the £317m the Department promised was £13m above the minimum the government promised when the agreement was originally reached. 

“The recent Spending Review announced £120m funding over the next five years for Metro’s ongoing reinvigoration programme and confirmed the networks running costs will be fully supported until 2019”, they said. 

Cllr Forbes, who is also the leader of Newcastle City Council, added that the “one bright spot” on the horizon is the fact that the North East devolution deal will mean that in the future we will have much more control and certainty over finances in the region – and be less dependent on decisions made in Whitehall. 

“This will mean that we can set our own priorities and be confident that we will be able to deliver,” he said. 

In June, Nexus announced it was to invest £40m in modernisation works for the Tyne & Wear Metro over the next 12 months, replacing track, refurbishing trains and installing a new rail traffic management system.


Lutz   15/12/2015 at 18:21

I would be surprised if there was any significant change to the funding envelopes when devolution comes into practice; any additional funding will have to be raised 'locally'. The main change will be the devolution of the allocation and prioritisation of funds.

Add your comment



Rail industry Focus

  • 02/11/2019Monica Barbosa: Women In Rail

    Director of business development and communications at Xrail, Monica Barbosa, thinks women are missing out on exciting opportunities because the lack of gender diversity in the rail industry.
  • 01/11/2019The dangers of fatigues

    Working long hours, poor health, too little sleep, a demanding job and more can all make us tired and affect our mental and physical performance – and when we’re fatigued we make more...
View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

NPR, TRU & Fleetwood Mac

18/10/2019NPR, TRU & Fleetwood Mac

Switch up your playlist with the first #WeAreRTM podcast, gain exclusive insight into the leaders running the rail industry their opinions on recent headlines, visions for the future and meet the personalities behind the job titles. It's no... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in the Midlands. He said: “It’s very... more >