Commuters face another week disruption after the reopening of the Metro line between Pelaw and South Shields was pushed back.

Work on the £104m project to dual the Tyne and Wear Metro line in South Tyneside, named Metro Flow, has been extended by a week to allow contractors extra time to complete works.

It means the line will remain closed for up to a week longer than initially planned while the final stretches of overhead power lines are installed and safety signals tested.

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It had been due to reopen on December 4 but the opening will now be up to one week later, Metro bosses have said.

Replacement bus services which have been running for the last 12 weeks will continue to run until the project is complete.

Major Projects Director at Nexus, Cathy Massarella, said: “We are very close to re-opening the Metro line between Pelaw and South Shields but our contractors need up to one more week to complete this complex project.

“I want to apologise to Metro customers who were looking forward to being back on trains at the start of next week and assure you we have a revised programme to make this happen as soon as possible. We’ll keep customers updated on what day next week the line will re-open.

“Metro Flow involves converting a freight line for Metro trains with both sharing the track in future. It is essential we do not rush the re-opening, so we must complete and test new signal systems fully before passenger services operate.

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“Our frequent replacement bus service will remain in place for customers. This includes a bus that calls at all Metro stations on the route and a rapid express bus that runs from Heworth straight to Jarrow and South Shields.”

Work has been underway since September to convert a freight line to be used by Metro trains.

A 4.6km stretch of track has been replaced with completely new overhead lines and signalling installed to remove three sections off single-track between Pelaw and Bede stations.

Metro bosses say the project will improve reliability across the entire network by removing ‘pinch points’ which currently delay trains, as well as allowing them to increase the frequency of services in the future.

Nexus, the body which runs Metro, secured £95m in funding from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund to carry out the works.

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