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23 May 2013, 07:31
The busiest section of the Tyne & Wear Metro line will be closed for 27 consecutive days this August for modernisation works.
The multi-million pound works involve a major line closure between Haymarket, Airport and Four Lane Ends,from the 4th til the 30th of August.
This will be the longest line closure since Metro began in 1980. Frequent replacement bus services will be provided during the line closure, calling at or near stations on the affected route and there will be an Airport shuttle bus and extra Metro trains around the coast.
The work is a key part of the £385m Metro: all change modernisation programme, a once in a generation investment to ensure the region has a reliable Metro system for many decades to come.
Six kilometres of track will be replaced between Jesmond and South Gosforth, a section of line that sees 30,000 passengers journeys each day, 450 train movements and a service every three minutes in peak periods.
Stations will be refurbished and cable routes replaced on the line all the way up to Newcastle Airport.
The work is happening in August because schools are closed and because it is the one month of the year that sees the lowest number of Metro passengers.
When completed it will be the last period of weekday Metro closures for a whole year.
When the line closure begins there will be no trains between Airport and Haymarket or Four Lane Ends and Haymarket, a period of 27 days.
There will be extra trains between from Four Lane Ends via the coast to St James to provide people living in North Tyneside with an alternative route to Newcastle city centre.
There will also be peak time Metros operating to Longbenton station.
Trains will still be frequent between Haymarket, South Shields, and South Hylton, but additional rush hour trains normally running will be cancelled.
Director General of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said:
"August will see one of the biggest and most complex pieces of modernisation work in Metro's history.
I apologise to Metro users who will experience the disruption it will cause.
This is a once in a generation piece of modernisation work which can only be done during an extended closure period. It will mean we can deliver a high quality Metro service for the next 50 years.
We will ensure there is a fast and reliable replacement bus service running when the line is shut. We advise passengers to plan their journeys in advance before travelling."
In order to deliver the major line closure Nexus will set up two work site compounds in Newcastle, one at Fawdon in Gosforth and one at Manors, close to Newcastle city centre.
When the major line closure ends on 30th August, Nexus will be doing far fewer line closures through the autumn and winter, with the number of hours of planned works were cut by half this year.
A further but much shorter line closure will be needed within the next two years on the same stretch to renew the 150-year-old embankment along the track. For further information about the 27 day major line closure passengers can find out more on the Nexus website, or by calling the Nexus Customer Service Centre 0191 20 20 747.