Editor’s note: On Twitter, after publishing yet another rant about London station names, I noted that I would be delighted to publish similar rants about other cities, if only anyone thought to send them to me. One hero stepped forward.
1. West Jesmond
There are two Metro stops in this suburb – Jesmond, and West Jesmond. Here’s a map of the two:
Image: Open Street Map.
In the name of accuracy, I’m petitioning to either have Jesmond renamed “South Jesmond”, or West Jesmond renamed “North-by-North-by-Northwest Jesmond”.
Which university? Newcastle University, student population 23,700? No, that’s at Haymarket.
Northumbria University, student population, 27,200? No, that’s also at Haymarket (or Four Lane Ends, if you want the out-of-town campus).
University of Sunderland, student population 13,000? Yes! Well, sort of. The Sunderland City Campus is at University – but the St Peter’s Campus is at St Peter’s.
So if you’re heading to a university on Tyne & Wear, statistically speaking you almost certainly do not want University Metro station.
Central is the Metro station that connects to Newcastle railway station, so its name makes some sense. The only problem is it’s not really central to anything – nor is it the central interchange on the Metro network.
The network map. Image: Nexus Tyne & Wear.
If you want central Newcastle – or any destination towards North Shields – you should head to Monument, the next station along and a fair walk uphill from Central.
4. Percy Main
I was going to give this one a pass, since although there’s nothing “Main” about it, Percy Main is also a (weirdly-named) village. But I looked it up on Wikipedia and it tells me the village “is named after the Duke of Northumberland’s railway station, Percy Main”.
So it’s a railway station, named after a village, named after a railway station, owned by a guy called Percy, who apparently had so many stations he needed to note which was his main one. This is a dangerous level of recursion.
(UPDATE: The internet tells us that this one is actually named after the Main coal seam. The things you learn.)
5. Tyne Dock
This one is a relic of history, but one that’s potentially disastrous for tourists. There was once a huge port at Tyne Dock (part of South Shields), but much of it was filled in in the 1980s and today it’s just warehouses.
The passenger terminal of the Port of Tyne, which is where the ferry to Amsterdam departs from, is actually on the other side of the river. The port is really badly connected to the Metro network anyway, so I wouldn’t try it unless you fancy a mile-long walk down a dual carriageway.
6. Four Lane Ends
I like the quaintness of this one, but there’s no getting away from the fact those four lanes are now two busy A-roads and they don’t so much “end” as “cross each other”.
7. Bank Foot
It’s at the foot of a bank I guess? It used to be called Kenton Bank, but for some reason when they inaugurated the Metro they deleted the useful word “Kenton” – the village it’s actually near – and added the useless word “Foot”.
It’s a pointless station – it used to be where the shuttle bus to the airport went from, but now there’s an extension right up to the airport terminal so the remotely-placed Bank Foot serves no real purpose. It’s the fourth least-used on the network, and frankly I’m surprised it’s even that high.
Anyway, it’s the only Tyne and Wear Metro station that could be clearly and unambiguously signposted in emoji.
8. Hadrian Road
A classic example of the problems with naming a station after a road. Hadrian Road is a fairly long road along the north bank of the Tyne, mostly lined with industrial units. And there are two, maybe three stations on it: Hadrian Road, Wallsend and arguably Howdon.
If you actually had to use Hadrian Road station, you probably wouldn’t approach it from Hadrian Road anyway, but from the housing estate to the north. That said, few people do have to use Hadrian Road: it has the third fewest passengers of any station on the network.
9. Stadium of Light
Pretty self explanatory, right? It’s the station for Sunderland FC’s home ground, the Stadium of Light.
Except it’s not, if you’re actually from Sunderland. To prevent overcrowding on match days, the Stadium of Light station is only meant to be used by fans travelling from Newcastle and other northern stations. Those coming from stations to the south – an area which includes most of Sunderland – should use St Peter’s, which is actually slightly closer to the stadium anyway, instead.
That said, the fact that St Peter’s is the least-used station on the entire network suggests Sunderland fans don’t take that rule entirely seriously.
Not a problem in itself, but whenever the announcement comes on, you can be pretty sure some out-of-town idiot will sing, “Byker, Byker, Byker Grove!” in cod-Geordie. (Full disclosure: I have definitely been this idiot.)
Honourable mention: MetroCentre
It’s not a Metro station but a normal railway station, which is precisely what makes it so confusing.
Things used to be worse: until 1993 it was called “Gateshead Metro Centre”, which given the fact it’s connected by bus to both Gateshead Metro station and Central Metro station all sounds like the set-up to a terrible “Who’s on first?” joke.
If the extension plans go ahead, this will eventually be part of the actual Metro network. I’m not sure if that will result in any less confusion.
Stephen Jorgenson-Murray tweets as @stejormur.
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