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Section of Metro to close for 12 weeks under major 'Metro Flow' upgrade scheme - but Dual tracking work between Pelaw and Bede Stations won't start until 2022

Dual tracking of the Metro railway between Pelaw and Jarrow stations - Planning Approval

Not on Gateshead (as above) but South Tyneside Council Planning Portal on 06/11/20

EXTRACT

Application Number - ST/0476/20/CLP

Site Address - Metro railway between Pelaw and Jarrow Stations

Application Type - Certificate of Lawful Proposed Use or Development

Development Type - Engineering

Proposal - Application for a Lawful Development Certificate for proposed use or development in relation to the dual tracking of the metro railway (development to pre-existing light and heavy rail network) between Pelaw and Jarrow Stations (the Metro Flow Project, as detailed within the submitted Supporting Technical Note) and all associated development.

Current Status - FINAL DECISION

Decision - Grant Permission No Conditions 06-11-2020


KEN
Shields Gazette website article from 28/11/20

EXTRACT

Section of Metro to close for 12 weeks under major 'Metro Flow' upgrade scheme - but work won't start until 2022

Sections of the Metro in South Tyneside are set to be closed for 12 weeks as part of a major upgrade scheme.

The work will see an existing freight line upgraded and electrified making it capable of carrying Metro services, with three sections of track totalling 3km dualled between the Pelaw and Bede Metro stations.

While the project is not due to start until September 2022, the works are expected to have a major impact on local services.


Full article on Section of Metro to close for 12 weeks when major upgrade scheme eventually starts

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"A statement on the main website of Nexus states these “pinch points” are the only remaining single-track sections on the system, where trains must use the same line in both directions."

So the Shields Gazette had to find this out from the Nexus website? Huh.
 

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Record number of Metro drivers training at new £8.4m Learning Centre facility in South Shields

Chronicle Live website article from 30/11/20

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Record number of Metro drivers training at new £8.4m South Shields facility

Thirty recruits – Metro’s biggest ever single intake of drivers – are among the first to use the purpose-built facility, which has opened its doors for the first time following the completion of construction work over the summer.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, has built the new Learning Centre to bring a wide range of rail infrastructure and operations training under one roof.

“A lot of our training was previously being delivered in mobile classrooms, so this new building heralds a new era and a step change in quality.”


Full article on Record number of Metro drivers training at new £8.4m South Shields facility

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Large parts of Newcastle away from the old Coast Circle lines and the line to the airport have no Metro and rely on buses using congested roads to reach the city centre. I always wonder why consideration was never given to extending the Metro from beyond St James Park into the west end, possibly as far as Denton, and following the route of the West Rd. Also it has been mentioned on here a few years ago about building a line from the Haymarket to Kingston Park, running mostly underground, that would serve the north west of the city.
 

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Large parts of Newcastle away from the old Coast Circle lines and the line to the airport have no Metro and rely on buses using congested roads to reach the city centre. I always wonder why consideration was never given to extending the Metro from beyond St James Park into the west end, possibly as far as Denton, and following the route of the West Rd. Also it has been mentioned on here a few years ago about building a line from the Haymarket to Kingston Park, running mostly underground, that would serve the north west of the city.
There were a number of options provided for in the design of St James, notably the over-run tunnels and the groundwork for a spur tunnel to head south-west just before the station.

From what I've seen, nothing concrete was ever planned - it was all passive provision in the construction of what is there today, based upon an extension to the west being a likely future candidate in an era where there was hope that the network would rapidly expand (remember that when the designs for these tunnels were drawn up 120 units of rolling stock were planned, allowing longer trains, which the platform chambers were constructed to accommodate, and a number of other optimistic ideas).

Sadly times changed, and not only was the scope of the original rolling stock order reduced, but serious questions were also raised in the construction process about the overall cost of the network, and it has faced pressure ever since with regards to funding. It took over 10 years for a relatively simple extension to Newcastle Airport to be approved and built, and the Sunderland extension took a further 10 years or so - and this was again subject to substantial funding constraints, which have (among other things) left the city with a central station that resembles a nuclear bunker.

Due to the sheer cost of tunnelling, it is very unlikely we'll see extension west of St James in any of our lifetimes, and an extension from Haymarket towards the north-west of the city is simply never going to happen. The most likely extension in these areas we'll see would be the construction of a street-running tram system. From a technical perspective, it's safe to assume that it would remain separate from the existing Metro network, though Nexus have alluded to the idea of this being the case but with the system still being branded as Metro and considered part of the network from an operation and fares perspective in their long-term proposals.

It is something of a shame, as the St James station is actually rather grand inside and certainly feels like it was built for a purpose it never quite realised, but it's not likely to change any time soon.
 

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Yes, its sad nothing can be found about the design of St James station, it really does look built for westward expansion but zero evidence for any actual plans for this.

With a tram system in the west end, there is always the option of limited tunneling from St James and trams surfacing from there. Tram-trains are pretty tried and tested technology.
Quite a lot of work would need doing to St James station itself though given the stupid decision to give the go ahead to Helix with no consideration for future metros.s
 

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Yes, its sad nothing can be found about the design of St James station, it really does look built for westward expansion but zero evidence for any actual plans for this.

With a tram system in the west end, there is always the option of limited tunneling from St James and trams surfacing from there. Tram-trains are pretty tried and tested technology.
Quite a lot of work would need doing to St James station itself though given the stupid decision to give the go ahead to Helix with no consideration for future metros.s
High-floor tram-trains or tram vehicles being used to allow running into the existing city centre tunnels are very unlikely, as they create a number of their own issues.

The most notable is that high-floor tram platforms take up considerably more street real estate, and are therefore unsuited to busy urban environments or tight streets; which pretty much describes the entire west-end of Newcastle.

The only high-floor tram system we have in the UK is in Manchester, and that is largely due to the requirement to avoid rebuilding a large number of ex-BR stations and due to limitations with technology at the time. Much of Manchester also has the benefit of being more spacious than Newcastle. All subsequent systems have been low-floor, including Sheffield where the tram-train trial is currently ongoing.

Also, whilst I believe 1500v DC tram wires in streets are possible and permitted, it's never been done - and therefore once the trams entered the tunnel they'd need to be able to switch voltage from the usual ~6-700v DC.

There would also be the issue of where to surface the tunnels, and how to mitigate the potential for trespass / wrong turns into them by pedestrians and traffic, and the fact that constructing them would cost quite a bit of money for very little gain vs just running the tram on the surface into the city centre via existing bus lanes.
 
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It is clear that it is prohibitive to try to have street and tunnel train/trams for the Metro at the same time.

But the biggest problem with the Metro is the parochial Councillors Cox and Evans (of Wearside in particular) that insist on some political point scoring by extending the Metro further and further out in to an intertown/city type rail network, which I would argue emphatically the Metro is not. What we need for an intertown/city type rail network is, erm, an intertown/city type rail network- commuting services serving the ECML, improved where existing services are like Durham coast, and new lines where ones once existed like Consett and Ashington.

The Metro is a light(ish) rail network to serve the conurbation of the North East in Tyneside, which then politics enforced its extension to Wearside. What the Metro, as a brand should focus on is continuing to improve its 'within the city' travels. Team Valley, Metro Centre, Newcastle Ferry Terminal, population centres that form the highest density living in our region such as the West End, Low Fell and so on.

But this is all ignored because of the parochial interests of the surrounding area. I'd suggest a tram from Westerhope-West End- Central- then over the HLB through to Gateshead, diverging to Metro Centre or Team Valley or Low Fell. Just because it says Metro on it doesn't mean it has to go down the tunnels
 

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It is clear that it is prohibitive to try to have street and tunnel train/trams for the Metro at the same time.

But the biggest problem with the Metro is the parochial Councillors Cox and Evans (of Wearside in particular) that insist on some political point scoring by extending the Metro further and further out in to an intertown/city type rail network, which I would argue emphatically the Metro is not. What we need for an intertown/city type rail network is, erm, an intertown/city type rail network- commuting services serving the ECML, improved where existing services are like Durham coast, and new lines where ones once existed like Consett and Ashington.

The Metro is a light(ish) rail network to serve the conurbation of the North East in Tyneside, which then politics enforced its extension to Wearside. What the Metro, as a brand should focus on is continuing to improve its 'within the city' travels. Team Valley, Metro Centre, Newcastle Ferry Terminal, population centres that form the highest density living in our region such as the West End, Low Fell and so on.

But this is all ignored because of the parochial interests of the surrounding area. I'd suggest a tram from Westerhope-West End- Central- then over the HLB through to Gateshead, diverging to Metro Centre or Team Valley or Low Fell. Just because it says Metro on it doesn't mean it has to go down the tunnels
To be honest, there is probably more in support of converting Metro into a sort of regional S-Bahn type network than first meets the eye - Merseyrail manages this quite well in some respects, so do quite a few systems in Europe. It would also make the system less of an outlier in terms of what we have elsewhere in the UK - something that might make it appear a safer bet in the eyes of various people involved in the planning process when applying for funding.

There's not much reason why Metro can't be both interurban and regional, perhaps longer-term even with a sub-fleet of rolling stock dedicated to the longer distance services. The only real hurdle we've had dropped in the way of this so far is that the new rolling stock has had the dual-voltage option omitted, and still only has a 50mph maximum speed - both things that with more funding could have not been an issue. That said, if Stadler becomes established in the region we could easily see a variant of the bi-mode FLIRT stock developed for us.

As with the tram concept, there is also nothing to stop us branding longer-distance services on routes such as the Tyne Valley and Northumberland lines as Metro, with more control over them at a regional level.

The big issue we have with the political aspect is that it's all a competition - those on Wearside don't like the idea of development elsewhere without getting their own piece of the cake, and vice-versa. Then you get areas which are not currently served by Metro piping up and complaining that they pay for it and see no benefit, ignoring any benefits that cascade down through there being less traffic in the city centres, etc.

Until there is joined-up long-term thinking, things will not improve.
 

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To be honest, there is probably more in support of converting Metro into a sort of regional S-Bahn type network than first meets the eye - Merseyrail manages this quite well in some respects, so do quite a few systems in Europe. It would also make the system less of an outlier in terms of what we have elsewhere in the UK - something that might make it appear a safer bet in the eyes of various people involved in the planning process when applying for funding.

There's not much reason why Metro can't be both interurban and regional, perhaps longer-term even with a sub-fleet of rolling stock dedicated to the longer distance services. The only real hurdle we've had dropped in the way of this so far is that the new rolling stock has had the dual-voltage option omitted, and still only has a 50mph maximum speed - both things that with more funding could have not been an issue. That said, if Stadler becomes established in the region we could easily see a variant of the bi-mode FLIRT stock developed for us.

As with the tram concept, there is also nothing to stop us branding longer-distance services on routes such as the Tyne Valley and Northumberland lines as Metro, with more control over them at a regional level.

The big issue we have with the political aspect is that it's all a competition - those on Wearside don't like the idea of development elsewhere without getting their own piece of the cake, and vice-versa. Then you get areas which are not currently served by Metro piping up and complaining that they pay for it and see no benefit, ignoring any benefits that cascade down through there being less traffic in the city centres, etc.

Until there is joined-up long-term thinking, things will not improve.
My point is why extend the Metro and its unique infrastructure to provide a rail network everyone else has, when say we could use Network Rail infrastructure and be on a level playing field? Having a bespoke solution for North East rail travel is only going to exasperate any upgrading or maintenance. Case in point we have to spend more to go dual voltage, and limited to 50mph.

Light rail systems are there not for distance, but for density. When you have places like Tyneside, which are basically high density towns in parallel to an industrial river, then there is a need for a light rail to supplement the congested towns that lie alongside the roads. This is why the Metro exists- double bonus in that it utilised existing rail.

However, when you take this system outside of the dense populated areas, then people have to wait on the train till it crosses the countryside, and then also wait until it stops at every stop in the denser populated areas, which will be more per linear length.

Whereas if actually the Tyne Valley, ECML, Durham Coast and new tabled lines for Consett, Ashington and Leamside line, you could commute on in from further afield, but not have to stop at every stop before you get to the city centre proper.

Imagine getting on a Metro at Fencehouses. You'd chortle through the Durham coalfield wastelands, stopping at Shiney Row, Penshaw, then a few for Washington, and then after travelling through open land have to sit through all the 'EEEEEERG stand clear of the doors please' relentless announcements for all the stops from Heworth to Monument. Whereas a heavy rail would stop at Heworth, and then crack on straight to Central (possible Gateshead stop). This effectively extends the commuting scope of Newcastle out way further and provides much better job opportunities for more disparate coalfield towns currently

Wearside is not the same as Tyneside. For one, it is 1/3 the size. Mindless thinking from 300 miles South lumped them together and assumed they were the same places to form Tyne and Wear, but we have learned now what a disaster that was. Sunderland needs better national connections, and an integrated decent bus service, with a densified centre. What Sunderland doesn't need is any extension to a poorly utilised existing light rail service that duplicates the Durham Coast service north of the city, and connects low density or close to the centre areas anyway. Look at how close Sunderland Central/Park Lane/University is. It's quicker to walk.
 

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My point is why extend the Metro and its unique infrastructure to provide a rail network everyone else has, when say we could use Network Rail infrastructure and be on a level playing field? Having a bespoke solution for North East rail travel is only going to exasperate any upgrading or maintenance. Case in point we have to spend more to go dual voltage, and limited to 50mph.

Light rail systems are there not for distance, but for density. When you have places like Tyneside, which are basically high density towns in parallel to an industrial river, then there is a need for a light rail to supplement the congested towns that lie alongside the roads. This is why the Metro exists- double bonus in that it utilised existing rail.

However, when you take this system outside of the dense populated areas, then people have to wait on the train till it crosses the countryside, and then also wait until it stops at every stop in the denser populated areas, which will be more per linear length.

Whereas if actually the Tyne Valley, ECML, Durham Coast and new tabled lines for Consett, Ashington and Leamside line, you could commute on in from further afield, but not have to stop at every stop before you get to the city centre proper.

Imagine getting on a Metro at Fencehouses. You'd chortle through the Durham coalfield wastelands, stopping at Shiney Row, Penshaw, then a few for Washington, and then after travelling through open land have to sit through all the 'EEEEEERG stand clear of the doors please' relentless announcements for all the stops from Heworth to Monument. Whereas a heavy rail would stop at Heworth, and then crack on straight to Central (possible Gateshead stop). This effectively extends the commuting scope of Newcastle out way further and provides much better job opportunities for more disparate coalfield towns currently

Wearside is not the same as Tyneside. For one, it is 1/3 the size. Mindless thinking from 300 miles South lumped them together and assumed they were the same places to form Tyne and Wear, but we have learned now what a disaster that was. Sunderland needs better national connections, and an integrated decent bus service, with a densified centre. What Sunderland doesn't need is any extension to a poorly utilised existing light rail service that duplicates the Durham Coast service north of the city, and connects low density or close to the centre areas anyway. Look at how close Sunderland Central/Park Lane/University is. It's quicker to walk.
Except the dual voltage and increased speed are not inherently cost-prohibitive things to include in a fleet. Beyond that, the points you make about stopping patterns and speeds are more down to the way the service is timetabled. There would be nothing to stop, for example, a service leaving Monument, stopping at Central Station and Gateshead, before running non-stop to Heworth or Pelaw, then heading down the Leamside line to make the relevant stops there.

If we continue down the road of having a separate Metro and National Rail service, you end up with the proposed services from Consett, Ashington, Leamside and so on stopping at Newcastle Central, which was part of the issue with the original British Rail services on Tyneside to start with - Central Station may have been central when it was built, but the main shopping and commerce areas of the city are now located elsewhere. In fact, I know quite a few people who live in the Tyne Valley or out towards Cramlington who despite trying the train, opt for a slower bus instead - as with the train the stations at both ends are not conveniently located, whereas the bus at least gets them right into the centre of the city.

The fact is, there is no reason why Metro and the regions National Rail services have to be separate and mutually exclusive, and why any extension has to use the unique infrastructure that Metro currently has - especially as rolling stock technology has improved to the point where it is very possible to build dual voltage trains with high top speeds and rapid acceleration without breaking the bank.
 
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High-floor tram-trains or tram vehicles being used to allow running into the existing city centre tunnels are very unlikely, as they create a number of their own issues.

The most notable is that high-floor tram platforms take up considerably more street real estate, and are therefore unsuited to busy urban environments or tight streets; which pretty much describes the entire west-end of Newcastle.
Where are you envisioning this tram going?
In my mind it'd pretty much follow the Westgate Road which is definitely wide enough.
A few years ago the idea of messing up traffic flow on the Westgate Road would be a massive deal but in light of big moves like closing down Askew Road it is becoming more of a feasible proposition.

Also, whilst I believe 1500v DC tram wires in streets are possible and permitted, it's never been done - and therefore once the trams entered the tunnel they'd need to be able to switch voltage from the usual ~6-700v DC.
This is more of a concern though I don't think its such a huge one. The new trains coming in are already dual voltage.

There would also be the issue of where to surface the tunnels, and how to mitigate the potential for trespass / wrong turns into them by pedestrians and traffic,
Surely this would be a problem with stand alone trams also?
Cars going down tram paths isn't that big of a risk I think, I can't think of any examples off the top of my head.

and the fact that constructing them would cost quite a bit of money for very little gain vs just running the tram on the surface into the city centre via existing bus lanes.
Yes. I don't see this happening for a long time, if ever. Its notable that despite it being on the drawing board under the last Labour government it hasn't been mentioned at all in the latest wave of plans.
But if a tram is to be built then connecting it to St James station makes sense. A stand alone tram unconnected to the rest of the network doesn't. If we're going down that path then segregated bus routes or at a massive push trolley busses would be the logical way to go.
 

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Where are you envisioning this tram going?
In my mind it'd pretty much follow the Westgate Road which is definitely wide enough.
A few years ago the idea of messing up traffic flow on the Westgate Road would be a massive deal but in light of big moves like closing down Askew Road it is becoming more of a feasible proposition.
Westgate Road is not the tightest of the city streets, but bear in mind any tram platform that is raised above 300mm has to be a minimum of 1500mm wide, with 600mm clearance on the other side of the tram before the opposing traffic lane or any other structures.

There is also a requirement that any raised platforms have to feature a ramp for easy access, which can't be more than a certain gradient (5% if memory serves). Bearing in mind that a platform cant impede access to buildings along the road and that you are expected to ensure that pedestrian and cycle access through the area is expected to not be hindered in any way, it all starts to become quite complicated vs having a low-floor system. This is then without considering objections from local residents who may be less than thrilled at how such structures will reduce already constrained parking space, and clutter the urban environment in a quite intrusive way.

This is more of a concern though I don't think its such a huge one. The new trains coming in are already dual voltage.
The new Stadler rolling stock is not dual voltage. It operates at 1500v DC, with the option for battery backup running, and that's it. The new trams would need to be what has the dual voltage capability, adding to cost - something that would be avoided by not sharing infrastructure. That said it is possible, with a derogation and appropriate measures, to have a 1500v DC supply in the street. But that has then gone and added cost again.

Surely this would be a problem with stand alone trams also?
Cars going down tram paths isn't that big of a risk I think, I can't think of any examples off the top of my head.
It's already been enough of an issue on a few occasions with the existing level crossings on Metro. So it would need to be mitigated, though this is likely to be the easiest thing to fix. Either way, it adds complexity and cost, yet again.

Yes. I don't see this happening for a long time, if ever. Its notable that despite it being on the drawing board under the last Labour government it hasn't been mentioned at all in the latest wave of plans.
But if a tram is to be built then connecting it to St James station makes sense. A stand alone tram unconnected to the rest of the network doesn't. If we're going down that path then segregated bus routes or at a massive push trolley busses would be the logical way to go.
Sharing the Metro infrastructure you introduce quite a number of technical challenges for very little gain, as the service would most likely go underground just before St James, call at St James, then Monumment and perhaps Manors. The Stoddart Street sidings would then be a logical place to have trams turn around, unless the route were to diverge after Byker and somehow serve the Walker area. Arguably having the tram go into the city at street level, and then maybe having the trams do a loop around the centre to turn around could be better here. The loop option would allow the new service to directly serve St James, Monument, Haymarket/the universities/City Hall, the bottom of Northumberland Street and Newcastle Central with ease.

Having the systems separated also adds some benefit in terms of operational resilience.
 
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Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your clear logic and wisdom on these matters, but above is literally my fear of over-expanding the Metro network!
In which sense?
 

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In which sense?
I just fear that in expanding the Metro Cake to include a slice for every Councillor in the North East region will ring fence us into a nigh on bespoke rail system, incompatible with existing national infrastructure.

By keeping the Metro as a light rail intra-urban link, and inter-urban link as national rail, we have a more adaptable system.

For example, we could convert the Ashington line as a Metro system, and even allow some heavy rail as a diversion route (if it linked north). But a Metro extension along the ECML would never happen, lest it interferes with Whitehall employee's wishing to attend the Fringe once a year, but it could if say, the Ashington line stopping service used its NR rolling stock to provide a stopping service.

It makes sense in my head anyway!
 

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I just fear that in expanding the Metro Cake to include a slice for every Councillor in the North East region will ring fence us into a nigh on bespoke rail system, incompatible with existing national infrastructure.

By keeping the Metro as a light rail intra-urban link, and inter-urban link as national rail, we have a more adaptable system.

For example, we could convert the Ashington line as a Metro system, and even allow some heavy rail as a diversion route (if it linked north). But a Metro extension along the ECML would never happen, lest it interferes with Whitehall employee's wishing to attend the Fringe once a year, but it could if say, the Ashington line stopping service used its NR rolling stock to provide a stopping service.

It makes sense in my head anyway!
The issue is we already have a bespoke system, and it is actually doing quite a good job of deterring investment in the region's rail network already. It also does a nice job of deterring usage of the regions rail network in some places too, by way of the system being disjointed.

Whilst integrating it with a tram network would further compound this (not to mention allowing any issues from mixing two very different types of traffic to propagate), allowing future extensions to be built as Metro but using standard rail technology that is off-shelf would have the opposite effect, as is the case with the Sunderland line currently. For example, there is not much that would currently stop Northern Rail from running a service to South Hylton, except perhaps fitting a few class 156 or 158 units with Indusi readers or putting AWS magnets at the signals - relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things.

If further rolling stock was then procured for the region (as opposed to us just getting everyone else's unwanted 156 and 158s), it could easily be procured such that dual voltage or bi-mode capabilities were included, and signalling equipment for both AWS/TPWS and Indusi - thus allowing it to work on both infrastructures very easily. The traction equipment in the Stadler BMUs that have been delivered to Greater Anglia recently could very easily be adapted to work with a 1500v power supply, for example, - and the issue of building the frames to a loading gauge suitable for the Metro portion of the route would be trivial. They have both a 100mph top speed, and an acceleration rate that is equal to our new Metro fleet when on electricity, and a rate that matches our existing Metro fleet when on diesel!

Indeed Nexus had initially wanted the new Metro stock to be dual voltage 1500v DC/25Kv AC capable, but owing to their desire to also include an independent power source and the fact that the budget was so tight, it was removed from the spec. All very short-sighted on both a local and national level to be honest, much like the rather controversial seating layout and the decision to not pursue slightly longer trains or a higher top speed!

As soon as Metro leaves the core section around Newcastle city centre it stops being a light rail system in many regards anyway, and already resembles more of an inter-urban/regional railway - and it's very possible for the network to remain in that light rail/rapid transit persona whilst in these central areas, but still effectively serve people further out - offering much greater connections to the whole of the region as a result.

The wider issues of the ECML and such routes end up being more related to the infrastructure (i.e. two tracks, lack of passing places) than the type of rolling stock being used. Regardless of the type of rolling stock in use (Metro type vehicles vs class 156 or some other mainline EMU), the issue will always occur as a result of attempting to path high speed and local services on the same running lines - as we see elsewhere in the country, and indeed providing some of the justification for HS2! It was also part of the rationale for curtailing the last local services on the ECML in the 80's and 90's under BR too - as there was a massive focus on InterCity (which was BRs profitable sector), and thus headline times for express services were what counted.
 
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Dual tracking of the Metro railway between Pelaw and Jarrow stations - Planning "Approval" by Gateshead MBC

Dual tracking of the Metro railway between Pelaw and Jarrow stations - Planning Application

On Gateshead Council Planning Portal on 03/07/20

EXTRACT

DC/20/00502/CPL
On Gateshead Council Planning Portal on 16/12/20 this in respect of above application DC/20/00502/CPL

EXTRACT

Decision - Development considered to be lawful

Decision Issued Date - Wed 16 Dec 2020


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Temporary Metro Depot becomes operational at Howdon in North Tyneside

Nexus website article from 17/12/20, with construction timelapse video

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Temporary Metro Depot becomes operational in North Tyneside

A new temporary depot which has been built to welcome the Tyne and Wear Metro’s new £362m train fleet has officially become operational.

The Howdon site in North Tyneside will be used to on-track the new Metro trains from 2022, and for maintenance of the current rolling stock while the main Gosforth depot in Newcastle is completely rebuilt.

“It’s a small but important step towards getting the new Metro trains. When they roll off the production line in Switzerland they will be transported here by rail and Howdon will be the point where they are delivered on to our network before testing and training gets underway.

Howdon depot, which has been built from scratch in just over a year, will be used for the cleaning and preparation of up to a quarter of the existing Metro fleet during a four-year transition to the new £70m depot at Gosforth.


Full article on Temporary Metro Depot becomes operational in North Tyneside | nexus.org.uk

Link to video,

Still image from video

865808


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Dual tracking of the Metro railway between Pelaw and Jarrow stations - Planning "Approval" by Gateshead MBC



On Gateshead Council Planning Portal on 16/12/20 this in respect of above application DC/20/00502/CPL

EXTRACT

Decision - Development considered to be lawful

Decision Issued Date - Wed 16 Dec 2020


KEN
All good news!

I've just been looking over the plans (https://myserviceplanning.gateshead.../pagestream?cd=inline&pdf=true&docno=22232377), and there is a new station in there too at Bill Quay!

Has anyone seen anything official about this yet?
 
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