Iconic Metro photos inspire the rail engineers of the future

Iconic images of the Tyne and Wear Metro are inspiring railway engineers of the future at a North East college.

A montage of stunning archive photographs, showcasing Metro’s proud history, and its exciting future, have gone on permanent display at Newcastle College’s Rail and Civil Engineering Academy in Gateshead.

One of six training rooms at the Felling-based facility has been transformed by some of the most captivating photos of the Metro system, its trains, and its infrastructure, over the last 40 years, from construction, the official opening by Her Majesty the Queen in 1981, right up to the present day modernisation programme.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has sponsored the ‘Metro classroom’ as part of an ongoing partnership with Newcastle College to inspire the workforce of the future who are seeking careers in the railway industry.

Nexus Head of Learning, Heather Blevins, said: “This Metro-themed display at Newcastle College’s Rail and Civil Engineering Academy is stunning and will inspire future generations who want a career in the railway industry.

“I want that iconic photo montage to capture the imagination of the students who go to study there, and encourage them to consider coming to work for Nexus.

“Connecting our industry with education is an essential part of our commitment to attracting future employees who have developed their skills at the Rail and Civil Engineering Academy.

“All of the images are iconic shots from our Metro photography archive. They capture the Tyne and Wear Metro from its construction phase and launch right up until the present day.”

Steven Shiel, Head of Rail Engineering at Newcastle College, said: “Newcastle College prides itself on offering vocational education developed closely with industry.

“The vision since developing the Rail and Civil Engineering Academy was always for it to be the leading provider of education and training in the North East for the rail industry.

“Nexus and the Tyne and Wear Metro service are both vital staples of the region’s rail industry and we are lucky to have enjoyed a longstanding, valuable relationship with them.

“The support they’ve offered to the Academy and to our students has been fantastic. I hope that our students continue to be inspired within our new Metro-themed training room.”

Nexus has had a partnership with the Rail and Civil Engineering Academy since 2016. The Rail and Civil Engineering Academy was established in 2014 and forms part of Newcastle College’s Transport Academy, which was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for vocational education in 2018.

The £5m facility, the first of its kind in North East England, offers a unique training environment to help the railway industry meet its skill shortages by providing a range of specialist training dedicated to rail infrastructure.

The purpose-built facility contains a real working environment with industry standard equipment and resources to train technicians and engineers for signalling, telecommunications, electrification and plant, track, and safety critical operations, all under one roof.

The site boasts six teaching rooms, a mechanical workshop, an electronics hive and a signalling and telecommunications workshop.