The appointment of a construction contractor has seen a £100m track dualling scheme which will see increased services, shorter journey times and improved reliability on the Tyne and Wear Metro network move closer to completion.
Winning a £55m tender with the North East light rail network, the contractor will deliver on the construction stage of Nexus’ Metro Flow project, which will see an existing freight line upgraded and electrified in South Tyneside.
By dualling three key sections of the track between Pelaw and Bede station will create additional capacity for 24,000 more Metro passenger journeys every day.
The work is scheduled for September to December 2022.
The chosen contractor has worked on the Tyne and Wear Metro network previously, having recently completed work on the new temporary Metro depot at Howdon in North Tyneside.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, said the contract award was a key stage in a project that would significantly benefit customers once completed.
The Metro Flow project has secured £95m of funding from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund.
Chief Operating Officer at Nexus, Martin Kearney, said: “We’re looking forward to working with the [construction contractor] to deliver this exciting £100m scheme that will vastly improve Metro services for our customers.
“It will involve the conversion of an existing heavy rail line, bringing it into dual use so that Metros can run alongside freight services, which is similar to the operations we have on the Sunderland line.
“This will increase the frequency of Metro services system-wide from twelve minutes to ten minutes outside of the central areas. For our passengers this means more regular services, and faster journey times.
“This project also gives us the scope to examine future opportunities to expand the network to other areas that are currently not served by Metro.”
Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, Cllr Martin Gannon, added: “This is an important milestone in the Metro Flow project, the largest element of the region’s Transforming Cities Fund programme by far.
“The delivery of Metro Flow will be transformational for the people who use the Metro in the North East, improving journey times and the reliability of services for passengers. As a result, more services will be able to run across the entire Metro system, showing just how critical investment in transport is to the future success of our region.
“Increased frequency on our system means we can help more and more people move efficiently across our network to access work, leisure and education in a green, sustainable way. This project will make a huge difference to thousands of journeys every day – hopefully encouraging more people out of their car and onto public transport.”
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