Here are the weirdest & most aggravating station names on the Tyne & Wear Metro

A Metro train at Monument. Image: Callum Cape/Wikipedia.

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”.

2. University

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.

3. Central

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.


10. Byker

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.

If you would like to complain about the names of stations in your city, you know where we are.

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Everybody hates the Midlands, and other lessons from YouGov’s latest spurious polling

Dorset, which people like, for some reason. Image: Getty.

Just because you’re paranoid, the old joke runs, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. By the same token: just because I’m an egomaniac, doesn’t mean that YouGov isn’t commissioning polls of upwards of 50,000 people aimed at me, personally.

Seriously, that particular pollster has form for this: almost exactly a year ago, it published the results of a poll about London’s tube network that I’m about 98 per cent certain* was inspired by an argument Stephen Bush and I had been having on Twitter, at least partly on the grounds that it was the sort of thing that muggins here would almost certainly write up. 

And, I did write it up – or, to put it another way, I fell for it. So when, 364 days later, the same pollster produces not one but two polls, ranking Britain’s cities and counties respectively, it’s hard to escape the suspicion that CityMetric and YouGuv are now locked in a co-dependent and potentially abusive relationship.

But never mind that now. What do the polls tell us?

Let’s start with the counties

Everybody loves the West Country

YouGov invited 42,000 people to tell it whether or not they liked England’s 47 ceremonial counties for some reason. The top five, which got good reviews from between 86 and 92 per cent of respondents, were, in order: Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, North Yorkshire and Somerset. That’s England’s four most south westerly counties. And North Yorkshire.

So: almost everyone likes the South West, though whether this is because they associate it with summer holidays or cider or what, the data doesn’t say. Perhaps, given the inclusion of North Yorkshire, people just like countryside. That would seem to be supported by the fact that...


Nobody really likes the metropolitan counties

Greater London was stitched together in 1965. Nine years later, more new counties were created to cover the metropolitan areas of Manchester, Liverpool (Merseyside), Birmingham (the West Midlands), Newcastle (Tyne&Wear), Leeds (West Yorkshire and Sheffield (South Yorkshire). Actually, there were also new counties covering Teesside (Cleveland) and Bristol/Bath (Avon), too, but those have since been scrapped, so let’s ignore them.

Not all of those seven counties still exist in any meaningful governmental sense – but they’re still there for ’ceremonial purposes’, whatever that means. And we now know, thanks to this poll, that – to the first approximation – nobody much likes any of them. The only one to make it into the top half of the ranking is West Yorkshire, which comes 12th (75 per cent approval); South Yorkshire (66 per cent) is next, at 27th. Both of those, it may be significant, have the name of a historic county in their name.

The ones without an ancient identity to fall back on are all clustered near the bottom. Tyne & Wear is 30th out of 47 (64 per cent), Greater London 38th (58 per cent), Merseyside 41st (55 per cent), Greater Manchester 42nd (53 per cent)... Not even half of people like the West Midlands (49 per cent, placing it 44th out of 47). Although it seems to suffer also from the fact that...

Everybody hates the Midlands

Honestly, look at that map:

 

Click to expand.

The three bottom rated counties, are all Midlands ones: Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire – which, hilariously, with just 40 per cent approval, is a full seven points behind its nearest rival, the single biggest drop on the entire table.

What the hell did Bedfordshire ever do to you, England? Honestly, it makes Essex’s 50 per cent approval rate look pretty cheery.

While we’re talking about irrational differences:

There’s trouble brewing in Sussex

West Sussex ranks 21st, with a 71 per cent approval rating. But East Sussex is 29th, at just 65 per cent.

Honestly, what the fuck? Does the existence of Brighton piss people off that much?

Actually, we know it doesn’t because thanks to YouGov we have polling.

No, Brighton does not piss people off that much

Click to expand.

A respectable 18th out of 57, with a 74 per cent approval rating. I guess it could be dragged up by how much everyone loves Hove, but it doesn’t seem that likely.

London is surprisingly popular

Considering how much of the national debate on these things is dedicated to slagging off the capital – and who can blame people, really, given the state of British politics – I’m a bit surprised that London is not only in the top half but the top third. It ranks 22nd, with an approval rating of 73 per cent, higher than any other major city except Edinburgh.

But what people really want is somewhere pretty with a castle or cathedral

Honestly, look at the top 10:

City % who like the city Rank
York 92% 1
Bath 89% 2
Edinburgh 88% 3
Chester 83% 4
Durham 81% 5
Salisbury 80% 6
Truro 80% 7
Canterbury 79% 8
Wells 79% 9
Cambridge 78% 10

These people don’t want cities, they want Christmas cards.

No really, everyone hates the Midlands

Birmingham is the worst-rated big city, coming 47th with an approval rating of just 40 per cent. Leicester, Coventry and Wolverhampton fare even worse.

What did the Midlands ever do to you, Britain?

The least popular city is Bradford, which shows that people are awful

An approval rating of just 23 per cent. Given that Bradford is lovely, and has the best curries in Britain, I’m going to assume that

a) a lot of people haven’t been there, and

b) a lot of people have dodgy views on race relations.

Official city status is stupid

This isn’t something I learned from the polls exactly, but... Ripon? Ely? St David’s? Wells? These aren’t cities, they’re villages with ideas above their station.

By the same token, some places that very obviously should be cities are nowhere to be seen. Reading and Huddersfield are conspicuous by their absence. Middlesbrough and Teesside are nowhere to be seen.

I’ve ranted about this before – honestly, I don’t care if it’s how the queen likes it, it’s stupid. But what really bugs me is that YouGov haven’t even ranked all the official cities. Where’s Chelmsford, the county town of Essex, which attained the dignity of official city status in 2012? Or Perth, which managed at the same time? Or St Asaph, a Welsh village of 3,355 people? Did St Asaph mean nothing to you, YouGov?

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

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*A YouGov employee I met in a pub later confirmed this, and I make a point of always believing things that people tell me in pubs.