Metro track junctions in tunnels deep beneath the streets of Newcastle city centre have been successfully modernised.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has modernised two sets of 40 year-old track point switches located in the tunnel that runs between Haymarket and Monument Metro stations.

These junctions, which see 450 train movements per day, are essential for the smooth operation of Metro trains through the centre of Newcastle.

The work, which forms of the Metro: all change modernisation programme, was carried out in a single weekend of works in order to minimise disruption to passengers.

Director of Rail at Nexus, Michael Ellison, said: ‘This was essential modernisation work in the Metro tunnels deep beneath Newcastle to replace one of the most important junctions on the network.

‘This is a part of the Metro system that passengers never get to see. It was crucial work, part of our modernisation programme. The points machines in that tunnel were 40 years-old and they needed to be replaced.

‘The tunnels are a challenging environment to work in but our teams have carried out the work with a minimal amount of disruption.

‘I’m also delighted that Nexus was able to deliver this work in-house, using our own staff and equipment.’

Two track point motors were replaced in what is known as the Prudhoe Street crossover – the tunnel area between Monument and Haymarket. Works entailed the removal and restructure of walkways as well lifting up entire track panels to replace the old sleepers.

Nexus is replacing all of its electro-hydraulic points machines, many of which date back to when the system opened in 1980, with more efficient electrically driven point motors.

The new ones are more reliable, proven technology, with less moving parts and components. They no longer needing hydraulic fluid, making them more environmentally friendly, and easier to maintain.

A total of 32 sets of points are going to be replaced, with work on 20 of them completed so far.