Tributes have been paid to a former transport chief who oversaw the construction and opening of the Tyne and Wear Metro system.
Desmond Fletcher, from Whitley Bay, headed up the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) from 1976 to 1983. He died just before Easter, aged 88.
During his time with the PTE – now called Nexus – Mr Fletcher was tasked with overseeing the massive construction project on the Metro system.
Mr Fletcher then oversaw the launch of the Metro in August 1980, as well as the official opening by Her Majesty The Queen in November 1981.
Director general of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “Everyone at Nexus has been greatly saddened to learn of Desmond Fletcher’s death. Our thoughts are with his family.”
He added: “Mr Fletcher was the man who headed up the building of the Metro system in the late 1970s. It was an iconic project that revolutionised the public transport network on Tyneside. Metro became a key driver of economic growth and job creation.
“Many people had thought that a Metro system couldn’t happen, but the project became a reality.
“The tunnels were dug and the tracks were laid. It was an historic moment for our region when the first trains started to run in the summer of 1980.
“We owe Desmond Fletcher a huge debt of thanks for making that happen.”