Metro services between Park Lane and South Hylton in Sunderland expected to be grounded until NEW YEAR due to flood damage
Metro services between Sunderland city centre and South Hylton will be suspended into the New Year after flooding destroyed an electrical substation.
Trains have been unable to run further than Park Lane since a storm earlier this month caused severe damage to the substation at Pallion.
Engineers from Network Rail, which runs the line, have been working to repair the damage and Metro operator Nexus said on Friday that the track could be out of commission for up to seven days.
Now, however, the damage has been discovered to be significantly worse than originally feared and Metro operator Nexus says it will be weeks before the power is restored and services are able to resume.
Network Rail has completed a full assessment of the damaged substation and determined it will have to be rebuilt.
And the damage is so severe the work is not expected to be completed before the turn of the year.
Nexus is still able to run trains on the Sunderland line between Pelaw and Park Lane, but with a 24-minute service frequency instead of the usual 12 minutes.
Stagecoach bus services 8, 10, 11 and 20 are accepting Metro tickets between Sunderland and South Hylton.
Paul Rutter, East Coast route director for Network Rail, said: “We’re really sorry for the impact this is having on Nexus customers.
"The flooding has damaged our substation so significantly that we need to rebuild it before it can safely power Metro services between Park Lane and South Hylton again.
“We’re working with our colleagues at Nexus to find other ways to help people get to where they need to be, but the complex repairs mean that no services are likely to run on this section for the next few weeks.
"In the meantime, passengers should check before they travel and allow extra time for their journey.”
Metro’s operations director John Alexander said Nexus knew the situation was annoying for commuters and was working on alternative arrangements.
“We have been advised by Network Rail that we won’t be able to restore Metro services between Park Lane and South Hylton until the New Year,” he added.
“We appreciate our customers will be frustrated by this news and we are working with Network Rail to see if the repair time frame can be shortened.
“Until the substation is rebuilt we cannot offer a Metro service between Park Lane and South Hylton, while the service between Pelaw and Park Lane is reduced to a train every 24 minutes rather than every 12 minutes.
"While this reduced Metro frequency, alongside Northern Railway trains, is coping with demand, we know the inconvenience it is causing.
“Between Park Lane and South Hylton we continue to advice customers to use local buses, with Metro tickets being accepted.
"We still hope to arrange a replacement bus service if we can find operators with the driver capacity to support this.
“We will keep customers fully up to date on the alternative travel arrangements, and with the progress of the repairs that Network Rail need to undertake.”