Wednesday, 2 November 2016 12:44pm

Looking back to the way ahead

Haymarket construction 1977

Metro’s opening in 1980 was as impressive as it was innovative. One of the biggest construction projects in the North East during the 1970s saw tunnels run under landmarks such as Grey’s Monument and Newcastle’s Central Station, which had to be partially rebuilt. Bridges had to be built across Ouseburn and the Tyne, while new stations were built across Tyne and Wear.

In the early 1980s the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (now Nexus) celebrated these projects with a short video documenting the network’s construction. 

One striking feature of Metro as it was originally planned was its role as the backbone of an integrated public transport system for Tyne and Wear. Inspired by efficient transport schemes in other European cities, the plan was to synchronise and connect bus, train and Metro journeys to get passengers from A to B as smoothly as possible.

This integration came to an end in 1986 with the nationwide deregulation and privatisation of bus services. In recent years there have been numerous calls to bring bus services in the North East back under public control, but these have so far been unsuccessful. 

The Way Ahead shows the scale of the work that was needed to bring Metro into existence. Nearly 40 years on, it’s time to shape the next chapter of Metro’s history. Help design the next generation of Metrocars – share your views on this website or visit one of our pop up labs, held across Tyne and Wear throughout November.