First stage of essential track-bed modernisation work completed on the Tyne and Wear metro

VolkerRail has completed the first stage of an essential programme of track modernisation work on the Tyne and Wear Metro system, in South Tyneside.

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This work forms part of the larger £8m project led by Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, to renew the system’s track and track-bed, between Gateshead Stadium and South Shields.

The 250 metre stretch of twin track-bed is being replaced over two stages and involves 450 tonnes of new ballast and 650 new sleepers.

The first stage of the project was completed in May and saw the team remove and lay the new bottom ballast, replace the sleepers and reinstate the existing rail along both the inbound and outbound track (500 metres in total).

The second phase of this essential programme is due to start in August and will see the team complete the installation of four sets of structure and track adjustment switches.

Chief operating officer at Nexus, Martin Kearney, said: “Delivering this major engineering project now, under carefully managed and safe conditions, means that Metro will be fighting fit as the economy recovers.”

VolkerRail’s track construction manager, Graham Dales, said: “Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the original programme, which would have seen our team complete the whole project over four days, was amended to ensure the safety of staff on site. With the project now broken down into two stages, our teams are able to complete the work more effectively, to ensure the old track is replaced, but also allows our division to assist on other projects in Sheffield, Nottingham and Croydon.”