Tyne and Wear Metro

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The Tyne and Wear Metro is a light rail system in and around Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom. The system was the first light rail network to be opened in the UK, opening in 1980. The original network ran in a loop around Newcastle, crossing itself once, with a branch to South Shields. The network was extended to Newcastle Airport in 1991 and to South Hylton and Sunderland in 2002. This latest extension includes a stretch of joint running, wherein the metro trains and national rail trains share the same length of track. Excluding the London Underground, this is the only instance of such operation in the UK.

The Tyne and Wear Metro gets its power from overhead wires energised at 1,500 volts DC. This is now unique in the UK; formerly the Woodhead Route from Manchester to Sheffield also used this voltage. That line mostly closed in 1981, while the remaining stretch from Glossop to Manchester was re-electrified to the national standard of 25,000V AC in 1984. 1,500V is a common system for both heavy and light rail systems in other countries. All UK light rail systems built since the Tyne and Wear have used a voltage of 750V DC.