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Questions that simply refuse to go away...

Byline: SONIA SHARMA Reporter sonia.sharma@trinitymirror.com

PRESSURE on Metro bosses is continuing to grow after a second council called for action following two days of misery for passengers.

Thousands of passengers were left frustrated after the system ground to a halt on Sunday with trains stranded at a Newcastle depot after a major electrical fault at the South Gosforth substation.

Sunday's network failure coincided with the first sell-out of Newcastle Falcons' Kingston Park in almost 10 years, as well the Freedom of the Tyne event in the city centre.

By 6pm, Nexus had managed to get some trains back on the tracks, running a reduced service between Pelaw and Benton, and Pelaw and Regent Centre.

But there were further problems on the network on Monday.

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, has met with Metro bosses and the failure was raised.

A spokesperson said: "Like all North East Combined Authority (NECA) leaders, Coun Forbes has regular catch ups with the managing director for transport operations at Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, at which Metro performance is raised.

"Issues from Sunday were discussed at this week's meeting, and will be raised further at future NECA meetings."

The news comes as Coun Michael Mordey, portfolio holder for city services at Sunderland Council, called for answers following a "catastrophic" day.

In a letter to Mr Hughes Coun Mordey said: "I'm very concerned by what can only be classed as a catastrophic failure of the Metro system and I'm seeking urgent assurances from Nexus as to what caused such devastating disruption and what measures they are putting in place to prevent a repeat.

"The complete suspension of the service in the Sunderland area for the whole day led to severe inconvenience for public transport users in the city, resulting in people being stranded and the city being cut off from national and international transport connections at Newcastle Central Station and Newcastle International Airport.

Coun Mordey has demanded answers to six vital questions: | whose equipment failed? - Nexus or the power supplier - and why was no back up equipment available? | what happened to the contingency plans Nexus recently assured councillors were in place with 'trigger points' to arrange alternative travel for Metro passengers? | were bus operators asked if they would accept Metro tickets or if they could mobilise a replacement service when the scale of the problem became apparent? | why were ticket machines still issuing tickets when no trains were running? | when the limited service resumed why was it confined to a frequent service covering only Newcastle and Gateshead, and | why aren't some trains kept south of the Tyne to provide or maintain a service in the event of such a catastrophic failure? Nexus said it will speak to councils directly to address concerns over performance issues.

Mr Hughes has previously said in an open letter to passengers that a full investigation would take place.

He added: "This is almost unprecedented in Metro's history and is a serious failure for which I want to apologise. We recognise that Sunday was a major failure which will have affected many passengers. We will be investigating all aspects of this incident and our response to it so that we can prevent such a failure from happening again."

I'm very concerned at what can only be classed as a catastrophic failure of the Metro system Coun Michael Mordey 1940

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Coun Michael Mordey is demanding answers following the latest Metro problems, far left, and above
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 2, 2017
Words:577
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