Tyne and Wear Metro

The Tyne and Wear Metro is an overground and underground light rail rapid transit system[3][4][5] serving the metropolitan boroughs of Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and the City of Sunderland (together forming Tyne and Wear). The network opened in stages from August 1980 and now serves a total of 60 stations, with two lines covering 48.2 miles (77.6 km) of track.[6][7][8][2] The Metro can be accessed from a mixture of underground and overground stations. It has been described as the "first modern light rail system in the United Kingdom".[9] The system is currently owned and operated by the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (branded as Nexus), thus is fully under public ownership and operation.

Tyne and Wear Metro
A Metrocar at Monument in 2015, branded in the current black and yellow colour scheme.
System map of the Tyne and Wear Metro network.
OwnerTyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (Nexus)
Area served
LocaleTyne and Wear
Transit typeLight rail
Rapid transit
Number of lines2
Number of stations60
Annual ridership36.4 million (2018/19)[1]
HeadquartersStation Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
Began operation11 August 1980
(41 years ago)
Operator(s)Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (Nexus)
Number of vehicles87 Metrocars
Train length27.81 m (91 ft 3 in)
System length77.5 km (48.2 mi)[2]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Electrification1,500 V DC overhead lines
Top speed80 km/h (50 mph)

In 2018–19, an estimated 36.4 million passenger journeys were made on the Metro, making it the third-most used light rail network in the United Kingdom after London's Docklands Light Railway (121.8 million passenger journeys) and Manchester Metrolink (43.7 million passenger journeys).[10]

The initial Tyne and Wear Metro network opened between August 1980 and March 1984, mostly using converted former railway lines linked with new tunnel infrastructure. Further extensions to the original network were opened in November 1991 (from Bank Foot to Airport) [11] and March 2002 (from Pelaw to Sunderland and South Hylton).[12]