The light rail system serving Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, South and North Tyneside and Sunderland. It opened in 1980 and is operated by DB Regio Tyne & Wear Ltd (a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn and part of Arriva Trains UK) on behalf of Nexus. It is described as Britain’s first modern light rail system. It can be considered a hybrid system, displaying elements of light rail, heavy underground metro, and longer-distance, higher speed suburban and interurban railway systems.
Known locally as ‘Metro’ the system has two lines, the Green Line, which runs between Newcastle Airport and South Hylton (via Newcastle city centre, Gateshead and Sunderland) and the Yellow Line, which runs between St James and South Shields (via North Shields, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay), then looping back on itself and going south via the city centre, Gateshead and Jarrow.
Since the inception of the Tyne and Wear Metro the rolling stock has remained the same. The fleet has been refurbished a number of times, with various liveries. Full refurbishment of the fleet most recently place from 2010 until 2015. Metrocars are to be refurbished by Wabtec Rail at its Doncaster facility with the main goal of the project to extend their service life until 2025. Metro’s passenger fleet is formed of a total of 90 two-car articulated units, which are usually coupled together in pairs. These were built between 1978-81 by Metro Cammell in Birmingham. In addition to its passenger trains, Metro also operates three battery-electric locomotives constructed by Hunslet which are used to pull engineering trains around the network.