Inquiry into South Tyneside day of travel chaos

Stranded passengers at Brockley Whins
Stranded passengers at Brockley Whins
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Transport chiefs have launched an investigation after a day of chaos for Metro passengers.

Commuters were forced to rely on replacement buses on Thursday after an overhead cable fault caused trains to be suspended between South Shields and Pelaw and Pelaw and Brockley Whinns.

Later in the day the service ground to a halt between Monument and Heworth - causing chaos on both the South Shields and Sunderland lines.

Train services were back to normal yesterday - subject to some delays - and Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Metro system says an investigation has now been launched as to why the overhead lines came down.

Managing director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said yesterday: “My thanks go to customers for their patience during this extended period of service disruption.

“I’m pleased to say that we have now restored Metro services between Monument and Heworth

“We have seen problems with two sections of overhead line that needed to be replaced after they came down. We have worked on this issue as quickly as possible and I apologise to customers who have been inconvenienced.

“The power lines came down at Gateshead Stadium and at Hebburn. These incidents occurred on Wednesday night and then on Thursday morning and the incident are linked. We are now investigating what went wrong.

“We are going to invest £20m on replacing Metro’s overhead lines. The work will start in January and last around three years as Nexus upgrades 60km of high voltage power lines right across its infrastructure.

“This work was already planned as part of our £350m modernisation programme.”

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck says an urgent improvement is needed in the system.

She said: “This kind of problem has been happening for years. We are still using the fleet from the 1980s.”

Gazette readers were quick to voice their opinion on the issue.

Peter Anthony Brown messaged our facebook page to say: “The system has been a joke for years. They couldn’t run a bath.

Rob Paris added: “Why referbish old rolling stock when it keeps breaking. The overhead lines need doing. In fact the whole lot needs replacing.”

Hayley Smith wrote: “£20million in three years. They aren’t taking into account that, over the years, prices will rise as well.