The Tyne and Wear Metro will operate a reduced winter timetable while it catches up with driver training schools that were halted because of lockdown.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, will introduce the new timetable from November 29 and it will remain in place until March 2021.
Customers will still have access to a good level of service frequency across the network, say Nexus, with trains every seven minutes on weekdays from 7am to 6pm through Newcastle city centre and Gateshead.
Training across the UK rail industry was unable to take place during the first lockdown because national assessment centres that put candidates through the mandatory aptitude tests had to be closed.
Nexus says this has impacted on the availability of Metro train crews, which is why a winter timetable is needed while 30 new recruits, who started in September, go through the six-month driver training school. This is the largest single intake since Metro began in 1980.
Metro Operations Director, Chris Carson, said: “Reducing services is the last thing that we want to do, and it’s not a decision that we take lightly, but training has been so severely impacted by lockdown that we need to implement a winter timetable.
I apologise in advance for the inconvenience this is going to cause to our customers.
"Reducing services is the last thing that we want to do, and it’s not a decision that we take lightly, but training has been so severely impacted by lockdown that we need to implement a winter timetable.
The Metro winter timetable:
Monday – Friday:
A 30 minute service 5am-7am; A 15 minute service 7am-6pm (which means a train every 7 minutes between South Gosforth and Pelaw); A 20 minute service 6pm until the end of the day.
A 30 minute service 5am-9am; A 24 minute service 9am-6pm (which means a train every 12 minutes between South Gosforth and Pelaw); A 30 minute service from 6pm until the end of the day.
A 30 minute service all day (which means a train every 15 minutes between South Gosforth and Pelaw).
When the winter timetable starts passengers are advised to plan their journey in advance and check train times before travelling.