UK-based Buckingham Group Contracting has secured a $78m (£55m) contract to carry out $141m (£100m) track dualling works on the Tyne and Wear Metro.
The Tyne and Wear Metro is owned and managed by Nexus.
Buckingham Group has been appointed as the construction contractor for the Metro Flow project’s construction stage, which will see the upgrade and electrification of existing freight line in South Tyneside.
The dualling of three main sections between Bede and Pelaw stations is expected to be completed by December 2022. This will create the capacity for another 24,000 Metro passenger journeys on a daily basis.
Metro Flow has obtained nearly $134m (£95m) in funds from the UK Government’s Transforming Cities Fund.
Nexus chief operating officer Martin Kearney said: “It will involve the conversion of an existing heavy rail line, bringing it into dual-use so that Metros can run alongside freight services, which is similar to the operations we have on the Sunderland line.
“This project also gives us the scope to examine future opportunities to expand the network to other areas that are currently not served by Metro.”
Buckingham Group recently completed the work on the new temporary Howdon’s Metro depot in North Tyneside.
Buckingham Group rail contracts director Rob Harwood said: “The first phase will be detailed design this year and then mobilise for the construction phase early next year.”
Nexus plans to use a portion of the financing to acquire four extra new trains to increase frequencies.
These additional trains are on top of the 42 new trains, which were funded by the government in a $511m (£362m) programme of investment.
Meanwhile, West Midlands Metro has received the first of eight new trams to support its expansion project.
Over the next few months, the metro will receive the remaining trams, which have been manufactured by CAF.