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New workstations for Tyne & Wear Metro

Second only in size to the London Underground, the Tyne and Wear Metro rapid transit and light rail system serves Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Sunderland.

In August our Control & Display Solutions business was part of a team that installed a new signalling control system for operator Nexus in the Metro Control Room – the single biggest upgrade for almost 40 years.

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    Nearly 38 million passenger journeys were made on Tyne & Wear Metro in 2016/17. The network runs over 77.5 kilometres and has two lines with a total of 60 stations, nine of which are underground. Martin Foster was L.B. Foster Control & Display Solutions’ Project Manager. He says: “We installed the original signalling control room console back in 2007, designed around a hard-wired control panel and large, tiled overview mimic. The objective of the new project was to implement a screen-based control system, using the footprint of the old console, but built to current day ergonomic standards.

    The new screen-based control system was set up several weeks before the commissioning date and split into three operational sections, all remote from the existing console. Once tested successfully, the console was decommissioned in readiness for the first stage of the refurbishment. The Metro had to remain operational at all times during the changeover, so all work was carried out in and around a fully operational control room.

    Martin continues: “We stripped off the old work surface and fitted an infill section to the existing steel base units, so the new work surface would meet current height and knee-well dimensional standards. Our data storage and CAD files ensured the new infill steel section was a perfect fit on the old base units.

    “As each section of the console approached completion, the L.B. Foster Telecoms team moved in with screens, keyboards and an operational section of the screen-based control system. At the end of the third night, the new control system was fully operational.”

    The final part of the overall project involved dismantling the old overview mimic display to make way for a five-bay 65” overview screen system mounted on a free-standing plinth.

    The work forms part of the £389m Metro: all change modernisation programme, a Government-funded scheme to modernise the Tyne and Wear Metro which began in 2010. The work focuses on Metro track replacement, station refurbishment and essential new technology.

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