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Monday, 1 April, 2002, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Metro system extended to Sunderland
Metro- Picture from freefoto.com
The Metro extension has cost 100m
After waiting 20 years for the Tyne and Wear Metro to be extended to their city, passengers in Sunderland have welcomed the light railway system to Wearside.

All but one of the new stations in Sunderland and South Tyneside have opened to the public, though final work still has to be done to complete most of the stations.

Twelve new stations have been added on the nine-mile extension line, which runs from the existing Pelaw Station in South Tyneside.

The Sunderland extension will have more than 200 Metros serving Wearside every day, running every 10 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes in the evening.

'Affordable travel'

A television, radio, and poster campaign has been launched to attract passengers on to the multi-million pound system.

Mike Parker, Director General of Nexus, which operates the Metro service, said it was "marvellous" news for Sunderland.

He said: "The new Metro extension will serve more than 90,000 households in Sunderland and will open the city to 750,000 people in the rest of Tyne and Wear.

Mike Parker
Mike Parker: Good news for Sunderland
"Thousands of jobs will be created along the Metro corridor by businesses flocking to take advantage of a strong public transport system.

"The people of Sunderland will be able to enjoy the benefits of affordable travel for shopping, leisure, work and college."

The Sunderland extension is a Public Private Partnership between Railtrack and Nexus - the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive.

Six strikes

It has cost 100m, much of the cash coming from European Regional funding.

The extension has not been without problems, with the lead contractors going into administration, and train drivers threatening strikes in April and May.

About 80 train drivers are expected to strike on Tuesday, threatening up to 40% of Metro services on what will be the first chance for Sunderland commuters to use the Metro.

The Aslef union plans six one-day strikes over a 5% pay claim and an extra day's holiday, putting into doubt the Queen's official opening of the extension on 7 May.

The strikes will be held on 2, 8, 15, 22 April and 3 and 7 May.


Click here to go to Tyne
See also:

19 Mar 02 | England
Metro drivers' Royal 'snub'
01 Feb 02 | England
Metro strike action called off
24 Jan 02 | UK
Rail disputes at a glance
11 Jan 02 | England
New CCTV for vandal-hit metro
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