Tyne and Wear Metro

Nexus approached me in 2017 about recreating, in LEGO, one of their iconic Tyne and Wear Metro trains. They required a 3 metre long model, and they wanted to involve the public! 

I designed and built one half of the train over a period of 4 months, and then developed instructions for different sections of the identical second half. This was a complex process, requiring the reconstruction as a digital design, production of step-by-step instructions, and the testing of them. We ran a week-long event at The Word in South Shields where 100 children between the ages of 5 and 11 came along and built a section of the model, such as a seat, or a door, or a side panel. It was a fantastic project, and the resulting train was displayed in The Word for over three months, before moving to the Nexus HQ in Newcastle.

Involving the public in a large LEGO build was a first for me with this project (it was repeated for Grand Central in 2018). Honestly, I was unclear as to how it would work, and whether it was possible to take a complex design and recreate it in just a few days with children. In the end, some parts had to be taken apart and rebuilt, not because they were wrong, but because it would have been completed before the end of the week had we not done so! It introduced me to the joy of getting the public involved, and as such added a whole new aspect to my work.

The large scale of this LEGO model (1:10) allowed for a high level of detail and accuracy, which appealed to my perfectionist nature! Specialist printing included the Metro system map above the doors and the logos on the outside. Lighting was included as LED strip lights that run throughout the train and light it in the same places as in the real train. 

A free set of instructions for a somewhat smaller version (230 parts!) is available here: LEGO Metro instructions.

Facts and figures

  • Scale 1:10
  • Size 30cm x 3metres x 30cm height
  • Brick count Approx. 22,000
  • Bespoke printing Metro logo on sides and front, seat pattern on all seats, system maps above the doors, carriage number 4091
  • Time to build 8 weeks
  • Completed August 2017
  • Client Nexus
  • Where is the model? Nexus HQ reception area, Newcastle