Category: Blaydon on tyne

Lorry driver rushed to hospital after HGV overturned on roundabout off A1

A lorry driver was cut out of his cab after his HGV overturned on a roundabout off the A1.
The blue 14-wheeler lorry tipped onto its side while navigating the Mill House roundabout in Washington between the A1 and the A1231.
Firefighters from Washingto…

X-Factor COCAINE crisis: Drug-taking contestants plunge show into meltdown

After being walloped in the ratings by BBC’s Strictly, bosses now have another headache on their hands.

Show favourite Aidan Martin has admitted he was a cocaine user.


SHOCKING: X-Factor favourite Aidan Martin was a former cocaine user

“Those days are well and truly behind me”

Aidan Martin

The revelation comes just 24 hours after ITV producers booted out singer Anthony Russell for taking drugs.

Barman Aidan told how his life fell apart after he was rejected by X Factor when he first auditioned in 2007, and moved to London.


DRUG SCANDAL: Aidan is the second contestant to admit to drug use this year

He said: “I got in with the wrong crowd and I was doing drugs. Cocaine and weed.

“I was going out with my friends and doing it to excess.


Aidan admitted to formerly doing both cocaine and weed

“My life was on a downward spiral and I had no idea how I’d get out. It was horrendous.”

Aidan, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, said he is now clean of drugs.

He added: “I’ve got a dream and there’s no way I’d let anything stand in the way of that. Those days are well and truly behind me.”

Related articles

Tyne and Wear Metro bosses set for crucial talks on financing new fleet of trains

North East councils are set for crunch talks with the government over funding for new Metro trains[1] which could see a final bill of around £435 million.

Discussions are ongoing but the replacement of the ageing fleet has become a source of frustration to people across the region.

Nexus[2] accept that “reliability is an increasing problem, causing trains to fail in service too often” and estimate the cost of replacing the 40-year-old trains currently in use would be £435 million.

A meeting will take place between representatives from Nexus, the region’s joint transport body, and the Department for Transport[3] on July 31.

It could be a breakthrough in negotiations and pave the way for funding to be made available for a new fleet of trains for the rail system.

But the meeting could also see talks stall, with North East council leaders anxious about accepting a funding model which does not suit them in the long term.

There are currently three funding options under consideration outlining how the investment will be financed.

A Metro train (Image: Ontrackimages)

Two consist of different methods of public funding but the third is a private funding proposal which would see a private consortium enter into a long running contract with the councils over repayment for the work.

Speaking at a meeting of the North East Combined Authority, Martin Gannon, the leader of Gateshead Council[4], said that he would consider rejecting the offer of funding if the government did not offer an acceptable financing model.

He said the third option was too similar to a Private Finance Initiative, a controversial method of funding which some say costs the buyer much more in the long run.

Coun Gannon said he would be willing to reject it and stall the process in the hope that government policy would eventually shift.

He said: “All we can do is wait and see what comes back from the government at the end of July and consider it.

“If the option that is put in front of us is PFI, I would perhaps prefer to wait and stall the process.

“We can’t lock ourselves into a very expensive and long-term project.”

Gateshead Civic Centre, Cllr Martin Gannon and Jonathan Wallace

The meeting was told that in order to get new trains on the Metro lines by the target date of 2021, the tendering process for the work would need to begin by the end of this year.

But a private funding method would mean a longer tendering process, raising the possibility that the 2021 deadline could be missed.

Iain Malcolm, the leader of South Tyneside Council[5], said: “We’ve got to get on with this and order the new fleet because that takes time to build and so on.

“Every week there seems to be a delay from the government and meanwhile the Metro fleet is getting older and keeps stopping.

“It’s having a huge effect on the business community in terms of their work force’s commute.”

Paul Watson, the leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The stock is getting older and as always we are waiting for a government decision but they’re stringing it out.

“Meanwhile, the problem gets worse every day.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told ChronicleLive last week that his department was “looking very carefully at what the best options are” but did not give any assurances over when a funding decision would be made.


  1. ^ new Metro trains (
  2. ^ Nexus (
  3. ^ the Department for Transport (
  4. ^ Gateshead Council (
  5. ^ South Tyneside Council (

So, what happens to the Tyne and Wear Metro fleet at night

We take the Tyne and Wear Metro for granted, but have you ever thought about what happens to the train fleet at night-time? Where do the 90 vehicles go when the service stops?

In a region that gave railways to the world, it seems fitting that Metro trains[1] are housed at a depot steeped in a proud heritage.

Metro trains have been carefully maintained at the South Gosforth[2] fleet depot in Newcastle for close to 40 years, in a building that was first used for electric trains in the early 1920s.

In an age when mainline rail was still dominated by steam, the ‘Tyneside electrics’ ran between Newcastle[3] and the Tyneside suburbs on both sides of the River Tyne from the early 1900s to the mid-1960s.

The South Gosforth depot may look fairly unremarkable, as Metro trains pass by loaded with commuters, but it is at the heart of Metro operations.

It is an essential facility, and without it there would be no Tyne and Wear Metro service. It can accommodate all 90 trains in the Metro fleet.

Where are the Tyne and Wear Metro trains stored when night falls?
View gallery

The building was first opened in 1923 by the London and North Eastern Railway.

It was a replacement for a fire-damaged railway depot at Walkergate, and it has been home to rolling stock ever since.

The Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive, now Nexus, took over from British Rail in 1980 when the location was deemed to be the ideal site for the new Metro fleet that was about to transform the way people travelled around Tyneside.

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The depot’s location allowed for trains to access lines to the west near Regent Centre and to the east towards Longbenton.

The building had been home to Tyneside’s iconic and often forgotten electric trains that were the forerunner of the Metro.

The last electric train ran south of the river in 1963, and north of the river in June 1967.

They were replaced by diesel trains which were kept at the Gosforth depot for the following decade, but it had already been earmarked as a base for Metro and British Rail duly handed it over to the PTE.

A full refurbishment was needed to get it ready for the shiny new yellow Metro carriages.

Works included the installation of overhead lines, inspection gantries, wheels lathes and lifting jacks.

Director of Rail and Infrastructure at Nexus, Raymond Johnstone, said: “The depot has been the proud home of Metro for almost four decades.

“The building was purpose-built for trains and the planners who devised Metro saw it as the best place to store and maintain the fleet.

“It’s an historic building with a proud record of serving rail services on Tyneside.”


  1. ^ that Metro trains (
  2. ^ the South Gosforth (
  3. ^ Newcastle (