The line from Heworth to South Shields opened in 1984, the last section of the original Tyne and Wear Metro network to open.
Trains leave Pelaw station to cross over the Network Rail Newcastle–Middlesbrough line by a viaduct. The junction with the South Hylton line is at this point. At first, the line shares a railway alignment with a Network Rail freight-only line to Jarrow Oil Terminal. As a result the line is mostly single track as far as Bede station, with passing loops at stations at Hebburn and Jarrow. After Bede station, the line is double track, through stations at Tyne Dock and Chichester, narrowing to single track for South Shields station. The line continues for a short distance after the terminus to some sidings. A new station at Simonside, between Bede and Tyne Dock, opened in 2008.
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