The Urban Transport Group is bringing together the former boss of Nexus (the public body which operates the Tyne and Wear Metro) Mike Parker and its current Director General Tobyn Hughes for a special event to celebrate 40 years of the unique and pioneering light rail system.
They will be joined by Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director of Nexus, for The Tyne and Wear Metro at 40 – A lunchtime conversation on what’s next for Britain’s innovation railway? which takes place on 24 February. The event is part of the Urban Transport Next series of free events, with a live online audience which have been running since November last year.
Metro, which opened to the public in 1980, celebrated its landmark anniversary last year.
The hour-long conversation will discuss the origins of Metro, its major milestones such as the extension to Sunderland and South Hylton (under Mike’s tenure) and explore what the future holds for this light rail system, including the introduction of its £362m new fleet of trains, which are due to enter service from 2023 and the potential for extensions to the network.
Tobyn Hughes, Director General of Nexus, said: “Metro is truly iconic. Its distinctive trains have put the North East region on the map and it’s known throughout the world. It has carried 1.5 billion passengers over three million kilometres during the last 40 years.
“I’m delighted to join Mike – who put his own stamp on the service during his time at Nexus – and Huw to discuss the past, present and future of Metro, which to many people is more than just a rail system.”
Jonathan Bray, Director of the Urban Transport Group, added: “The COVID-19 pandemic scaled down last year’s planned celebration of Metro – the bone structure of the region’s economy, identity and daily life over the last four decades. I hope that through this event, we can once again shine the spotlight on Metro which stands at a pivotal moment in its history, with the challenges posed by the pandemic but also the opportunities presented by its modernisation.”
The Tyne and Wear Metro at 40 takes place on Wednesday 24th February from 1-2pm.