Tees Valley residents could have been commuting around the area on a £220m metro system, if short-lived plans had come to fruition.

The Tyne and Wear Metro has been taking passengers around Newcastle since 1980, but ambitious plans 15 years ago could have seen a new system open in the Tees Valley.

Plans announced in 2007 for the £220m system would have seen services running every 15 minutes between Darlington and Saltburn and Hartlepool and Nunthorpe, and would have transformed the local rail network.

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The scheme, which initiallty had a £150m price tag, would have seen new trams brought in and slashed journey times.

The Northern Echo: An artists' impression of one of the proposed Metro trains for the Tees Valley Metro system in 2006An artists' impression of one of the proposed Metro trains for the Tees Valley Metro system in 2006 (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

Stations were set to be built at Teesside Park, James Cook University Hospital, Nunthorpe Parkway, Morton Palms in Darlington, and more.

In 2009 The Northern Echo reported how £34m of funding was in place for work to be completed by the end of 2012, including new stations, refurbished trains and the relocation of the Teesside Airport station.

But just a year later the scheme was plunged into doubt when it missed out on a £1.5bn Government transport package.

The first £34m phase received just £4.9m worth of funding after Labour, who promised the spending splurge in the run up to the 2010 General Election, were ousted by the Conservatives.


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And the plans began to look more unlikely to be delivered as the department for transport said in October 2010 that the scheme would receive no more funding without “further tests” of its value for money.

The Northern Echo: The route of the Tees Valley Metro mapped in 2010,The route of the Tees Valley Metro mapped in 2010, (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

Just a year later a £9.05m bid to build the light rail network across the Tees Valley was dashed amid fears it would not have created enough jobs and talk of the scheme dried up.

Plans were eventually shelved after the business case for the project proved hard to make and the Tees Valley was left without its metro system.