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Home is where the art is

PASSENGERS ON the Tyneside metro will be treated to a 3M package of futuristic public art to encourage them on to the 60km system, it emerged this week.

Artwork will include computerised sights and sounds transmitted throughout the partially underground network via new public information systems.

Many of our stations are bland and rather drab so we see this as a good way of injecting a bit of soul into a currently soulless environment, said John Meagher, customer affairs manager for metro operator Nexus.

Works already installed in the highly successful 46 station network since it opened 18 years ago include a full size iron horse close to the birthplace of George Stephenson and a terracotta image of a steam turbine which disguises a 3m ventilation shaft. Next week a 6m long interactive mural of an empty Parisian station will be unveiled, on to which passengers own images can be superimposed.

But the artwork, intended to be part-funded by industry and a yet to be awarded lottery grant, would also be linked to public address systems and information screens to ensure a wide audience.

We are still looking for ideas which could be incorporated into the dozen new stations for our metro extension to Sunderland, said Meagher. Government approval of this privately funded 80M link is on hold pending publication in May of the Transport White Paper.

An ongoing experiment to reduce vandalism at one metro station is said to be working. Reported vandalism is down 38% since classical music was turned on two months ago.

David Hayward

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