This film is part of Free

Metro: The Way Ahead

The fast track to an ambitious new Metro system that ends commuter misery on Tyneside in the 80s.

Promotional 1984 27 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


Newcastle upon Tyne reached traffic gridlock in the 1960s. T Dan Smith envisaged a motor city of the north east. But a planners’ radical blueprint for a co-ordinated transport network, conceived in 1971, was seen as the future. The ambitious Tyne and Wear Metro got the go ahead. South Shields-born actor John Woodvine narrates the story of the planning and building of this successful light rail transit system in a detailed promotional film released on its completion in 1984.

Just eight pence would buy you a ticket to ride on the brand new Metro. Building work started in 1974 and the first passenger services opened on one section on August 11 1980, though the official opening by the Queen took place on November 6, 1981. Somehow, the money was found for the project despite Britain’s financial crisis. It eventually cost £288 million. Featured in this film by the Newcastle-based Turners film production unit, new construction work included the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge over the Tyne gorge and a strikingly sinuous Byker Viaduct across the Ouseburn valley, designed by Ove Arup and awarded a prestigious Concrete Society Award in 1980.