It is good to see the proposals for the extension of the Metro and I hope that the money to implement these plans will be forthcoming from both the UK and European governments.
However, I am concerned by the proposal to use trams for some of the extension.
Trams have been demonstrated to be very expensive and disruptive in places such as Edinburgh and elsewhere, requiring, as they, do both rail tracks, which when laid along working streets cause disruption of traffic on an immense scale. Along with overhead power cables.
A far better option is the modern trolleybus which can do everything a tram can and much more besides, including running on existing railway tracks.
Trolleybuses would still need overhead cables to draw power from, but as they run on rubber in the same way diesel buses do, no rails are needed so there would be no disruption on the roads and so less expense.
In terms of North Tyneside, using trolleybuses on the proposed extension running south from Northumberland Park Metro via Silverlink, a trolleybus service could also go through the Tyne Tunnel connecting with the proposed Washington extension south of the Tyne.
Power cables could be introduced into the tunnel, or, if cables are not practical, a auxiliary battery on the trolleybus would get it through.
New track ways for trolleybuses not needing rails would not only be cheaper to build, they could also be used by other public transport systems such as buses and taxis.
It is also possible for modern trolleybuses, using rubber tyres, to travel along existing railway tracks.
All in all the trolleybus option is the cheaper, more adaptable, option for extending not only the Metro but for updating Tyneside’s public transport system in general.
Trolleybuses 4 Tyneside