New pictures reveal scale of flood damage that led to suspension of Sunderland Metro services

New pictures show the scale of the challenge faced by engineers after flooding destroyed an electrical substation and caused the suspension of Sunderland Metro services.

Trains were unable to run between Park Lane and South Hylton for around six weeks as Network Rail engineers worked to completely rebuild the substation in Pallion.

The entire facility had to be replaced after heavy rainfall in the middle of November left the substation – which takes energy from the National Grid and transforms it into lower voltage power for Metro’s overhead wires – no longer safe to use. Services only resumed on Friday, January 13.

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The project involved a major rewiring of the equipment that critically monitors the wires, as well as a rigorous programme of testing.

Damage to the substation left trains unable to run between Park Lane and South Hylton
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Martin Errington is the Network Rail maintenance engineer who oversaw the work and explained what had been required.

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“This hasn’t been an easy task - the water damage was so significant that the team needed to completely rebuild the facility before trains could run normally again,” he said.

"We’ve been working alongside industry specialists to restore power quickly and safely, and I’m really pleased passengers can use this section of the line again.

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Burnt-out wiring

“We’re grateful to passengers, businesses and the community for bearing with us over the last few months. The new substation will help to offer a more reliable Metro service for many years to come, so that people can continue to enjoy the great connections it provides.”

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Metro Operations Director John Alexander was delighted the work had finally been completed and the line reopened and he thanked travellers for bearing with taff whikle the work was going on.

“We are pleased to resume services on the line between Park Lane and South Hylton, and are grateful to our customers for their patience while Network Rail have undertaken the repairs,” he said

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“There was significant water damage to the substation at Pallion, which has been completely rebuilt on schedule by Network Rail in what was a complex project.

A damaged control board
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“The restoration of the power supply at Pallion substation will also enable us to resume a 12 minute Metro service frequency on the entire Sunderland line.”