The newest section of the Tyne and Wear Metro is the line south from Pelaw to Sunderland and South Hylton, which opened in March 2002. This line is unique in British light rail systems in that the track is owned by Network Rail and forms part of the National Rail system. Metro trains share the line between Pelaw and Sunderland with mainline passenger and freight services, but have exclusive use of the line from Sunderland on to the terminus at South Hylton.
Green line (Airport–Sunderland) services provide a 12-minute frequency as far as Park Lane station in Sunderland; alternate trains continue to South Hylton, giving a 24-minute frequency to the terminus. The line is double track throughout, except at South Hylton station which there is single platform.
Stations at Brockley Whins, East Boldon and Seaburn were converted from former mainline railway use, with new stations being built for Metro services at Fellgate, Stadium Of Light, St. Peter’s, Park Lane, University, Millfield, Pallion and South Hylton. Sunderland station is shared with National Rail servies, with mainline and Metro services using different parts of the same platforms, another unique arrangement amongst light rail systems in the UK.
by simon schofield