Metro modernisation in numbers – but do you think it’s better?

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Metro bosses have released this infographic to tell “the story so far” behind the £389m modernisation of the Tyne and Wear Metro system.

Nexus, which owns the Metro, and is undertaking a massive modernisation on behalf of the North East Combined Authority, aimed at making the system into a modern transport network for tends of thousands of passengers across the region.

The 11-year project is now halfway through, and the transport agency has released figures showing its key successes:

• A 30% reduction in signal faults compared to 2010;

•Zero minutes of delay caused by rail breaks in the last two years;

•The interval between points failures rising from three years to every nine years on average;

•Enough electricity saved from 18 new energy-efficient escalators to power 270 homes;

•And enough electricity saved to boil 16,000 kettles thanks to 12 new lifts;

•£20m extra invested in key infrastructure projects thanks to more efficient delivery;

•30 new apprentices taken on to reinvigorate key skills.

But after several high-profile issues on the Metro, including chaotic queues at the Great North Run and outages making commuters lives a misery, some passengers may need more convincing.

The cash for the modernisation project was released by the Labour Government on the provision the running of the Metro was put out to tender.

German operator DB Regio subsequently won the contract, beating an in-house bid.

Councillor Nick Forbes, who is lead for transport on the North East Combined Authority, said: “The modernisation of the Tyne and Wear Metro system has made travelling a much more enjoyable experience for the travelling public with new carriages, revamped stations and greater efficiencies delivering yet more improvements.

“This eye-catching infographic is a great idea as it shows passengers in a clear and easy-to-understand way the benefits of the £389m investment.”

Raymond Johnstone, director of rail and infrastructure for Nexus, said: “The Metro: all change modernisation programme is the biggest investment in the system since it opened in 1980.

“Many of our projects take place ‘behind the scenes’ so we think it important we get across the benefits they provide to passengers, the economy and our environment.

“People will see refurbished trains and stations as they travel on Metro, but may not realise we have also re-laid 24km of track and 44knm of signal cable, or installed new lifts and escalators that will save energy and serve passengers for decades to come.”

Nexus has overseen more than 200 separate projects since the Metro: all change modernisation programme began in 2010.

As well as infrastructure renewal the Metro fleet has been refurbished to deal with corrosion and make carriages more accessible, while 15 stations have also been revamped.

Key projects in the year ahead include installing a new digital radio system to connect drivers with Metro’s control rooms, and new train management software.

The striking images from the infographic have gone on display at Metro’s Central Station, where an 11-month refurbishment project has just started, and will be shared online.