Notes: In the early 1970s the poor local transport system was identified as one of the main factors holding back the economy on Tyneside, and in 1971 a study was commissioned by the recently created Tyneside Passenger Transport Authority (now known as 'Nexus') into how the transport system could be improved; this study recommended reviving the badly run-down former Tyneside Electric network by converting it into an electrified rapid transit system, which would include a new underground section to better serve the busy central areas of Newcastle and Gateshead, as it was felt that the existing rail network didn't serve these areas adequately. This new system was intended to be the core of a new integrated transport network, with buses acting as feeders to purpose-built transport interchanges. The plans were approved by the Tyneside Metropolitan Railway Bill which was passed by Parliament in July 1973. Around 70% of the funding for the scheme came from a central government grant, with the remainder coming from local sources.
Three railway lines, totalling 26 miles were to be converted into Metro lines as part of the initial system; the North Tyneside Loop, and the Newcastle-South Shields branch (both of which were formerly part of the Tyneside Electric network) and a short stretch of the freight-only Ponteland branch, between South Gosforth and Bank Foot, which had not seen any passenger traffic since 1929. The converted railway lines were to be connected by around six miles of new infrastructure, which was built both to separate the Metro from the existing rail network, and also to create the new underground routes under Newcastle and Gateshead. Around four miles of the new infrastructure was in tunnels, while the remainder was either at ground level or elevated.
Construction work began in October 1974; this involved the construction of the new infrastructure, re-electrifying the routes with overhead line equipment, the upgrading or relocation of existing stations, and the construction of several new stations, some of which were underground. Originally it was intended to be opened in stages between 1979 and 1981, however the first part of the original network opened in August 1980, and the remainder opened in stages until March 1984 with the opening of the final section between Heworth and South Shields.
The station at South Shields had a single platform located on the bridge above King Street, the main shopping street in South Shields town centre. The Metro station was located about 200 metres down the line from the former as the terminus of the Newcastle and South Shields Railway branch from Pelaw on Mile End Road which opened in 1879. The station was closed on 1 June 1981 to allow for the construction of the Metro.
The main entrance to the Metro station was on King Street and included a newsagent and a sandwich bar (the latter formerly a Nexus Travel Centre) at ground level. The station was accessed via the main concourse by either lift or stairs from King Street or Keppel Street bus station. The original station building on Mile End Road was retained as an additional access to the Metro with a walkway running alongside sidings beyond the Mertro station and up the ramp at the west end of the platform after the Queen Street bridge. This builing remained in use until the 1990s when it was demolished with access to the walkway being rerouted a new building that now stands on the site.
When it opened on 23 March 1984, South Shields was the terminus of the Green line (from Bank Foot and later Airport), but later became the terminus of the Yellow line. The station appeared in Franz Ferdinand’s song Stand on the Horizon released in 2014.
South Shields Metro station closed on Monday 8 July 2019 (last train on 23.56 on 7 July), to make way for the town’s new £21m bus and Metro interchange. The new interchange brings the town’s bus and Metro services under one roof in a landmark airy modern building that includes escalators and lifts to platform level as well as a café, bike storage, seated waiting areas and much better information.
South Tyneside Council worked with partners Muse Developments and Nexus, and construction contractor Bowmer and Kirkland, to build the new South Shields Interchange on Keppel Street. Construction of the interchange, which forms Phase Two of the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan, began in April 2018. Metro services will terminate at Chichester station for four weeks to allow completion of the Interchange, with frequent buses linking to the town centre until it opens on Sunday, 4 August 2019.
Source: Wikipedia various
Click here for a video of South Shields Metro station