Newcastle, England

From nycsubway.org

Newcastle's Tyne & Wear Metro station at West Jesmond. Photo by Simon Billis, 2001.


The Metro was opened in stages between 1980 and 1984 and provided Tyne and Wear with its very own metro system. Linking the City of Newcastle with the local authority areas of North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, and the City of Sunderland., the 78km system, built largely on former British Rail rail lines and a new tunnel system constructed, provides a key element to the local transport infrastructure. The system operates from 0600hrs until last train at midnight.

The system has expanded ever since. First with a direct link to the Airport, and now the new link to Sunderland, the new Sunderland extension runs over network rail track until it reaches Sunderland Central then goes back onto Metro's own tracks towards South Hylton.

Best described as a rapid transit rail system, the Metro serves the area in a way that the former heavy rail system could not. Although electrified for the first time in 1904, the suburban lines had been de-electrified due to high maintenance costs, and services replaced with unpopular diesel multiple units. Services dwindled until in the 1970's, the first stage of the Metro was built under the then new shopping complex in Gateshead Interchange which is being completely rebuilt. Substantial tunnelling works were required under Newcastle, and a complete renewal of the infrastructure on the adopted sections was necessary. Most notable in the list of new works was the construction of the new bridge over the River Tyne, the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.

Electrification by way of 1500v DC overhead equipment was chosen and rolling stock purchased from Metro Cammell (now Alstom). These units are two-car articulated sets and run in pairs (but has been known to run in single and even 3 sets). For the railfan, not only do they have railfan windows but have the luxury of railfan seats which are always highly sought after. Maximum speed of the units is 50mph (90kmh).

Magnetic track circuits and fixed colour lights form the backbone of the signalling system along with a train identity and control system based around transponders and trackside receptors. Control for the network is situated at South Gosforth (SGF), The depot for Metro is also located at Gosforth called 'Metro Fleet Depot' (MFD) and Metro's main offices are located just next to them, named Metro Offices Gosforth (MOG), you can regulary see sets taken out on the test tracks through out the day and night at the fleet depot.

The major stations are at Monument (MMT) and Haymarket (HAY), which are both in the centre of Newcastle. Monument is the only station on the system with four platforms. Escalators serve the deep level platforms on both branches. Service intervals at peak time though Monument are every four to six minutes.

Fare control started out as being automatic barriers but this has now more or less given way to on-train and at-station ticket inspection, Metro operates a penalty fare system for passengers without tickets. All tickets are sold through automatic machines located at all stations before entering the compulsory ticket areas'.

The Newcastle Metro is good system and well worth a ride round. It's a good way to understand and enjoy this fascinating part of the UK.

Route Map

Photo Gallery

Five Random Images

Image 10369

(455k, 1220x920)
Photo by: Simon Billis
Location: Gateshead Stadium

Image 10376

(401k, 1220x920)
Photo by: Simon Billis
Location: St. James

Image 10378

(427k, 1220x920)
Photo by: Simon Billis

Image 10383

(424k, 1220x920)
Photo by: Simon Billis
Location: West Jesmond

Image 36902

(153k, 820x599)
Photo by: Robert Clark
Location: Tyne & Wear Depot

More Images: 1-23


Official Site - NEXUS, Tyne & Wear Metro Operator. The official site of the operator of the Tyne & Wear Metro.

Page Credits

By Simon Billis. Route Map by Seth Morgan.

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