Stadler, the Swiss engineering company, has officially commissioned VolkerFitzpatrick to build a brand-new depot at Gosforth, which will accommodate the new state-of-the-art trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro, set to enter passenger service from 2023.
Stadler has a contract to service and maintain the new Stadler-built trains for 35 years at the overhauled facility, underscoring its commitment to the regional economy, jobs and the supply chain in Tyne and Wear.
The new purpose-built depot, which represents an investment of £70 million, will be used for the new Tyne and Wear Metro trains set to enter passenger service from 2023. The depot will be designed to ensure maximum availability and reliability of the fleet, will vastly improve the working environment and become home to a wide range of activities, including preventative and corrective maintenance, overhauls and train presentation. There will be storage for spare parts and material supplies and office space for training and other support functions.
With inspection roads and pits, cranes, jacks, test facilities and a wheel-lathe, the 12-acre site, close to Regent Centre station, will feature a wash-plant to clean train exteriors and other dedicated areas for both daily and periodic deep-cleaning. The outside area will be adapted to optimise train movements, while keeping noise to a minimum for the benefit of local residents.
The building has been designed to ensure maximum sustainability and to provide an attractive environment for employees. It will make best use of natural light, and all workspaces will have windows. Energy efficient lighting will be installed throughout the premises and solar panels on the roof will reduce overall energy consumption. Water recycled on site and rainwater will be harvested and used for train washing facilities and toilets. There will be a dedicated, secure area for bikes, and showers will be provided for people cycling to and from work.
The project will involve the safe demolition of the old depot, open since 1923, clearing the site, followed by re-building the new depot. Work is scheduled to begin later in the year, with most of the building work set to be completed by 2025. The planning has been configured to enable the legacy fleet to continue successfully operating from the depot, while the construction work takes place.
Robert Baxter, managing mirector at Stadler Rail Service UK, commented: “The appointment of VolkerFitzpatrick to re-build Gosforth depot is a highly significant milestone for the Nexus project, heralding the start of this exciting project in the north east, which will see the transformation of rail travel in the region.
“Stadler has pledged to support the regional economy and involve as many Tyne and Wear-based companies in the project as possible. We are keen to use local suppliers for materials and services required for the depot re-build, the manufacturing of the new trains and the ongoing service and maintenance of the trains on the patch.”
Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council and Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “Today's announcement brings us another step closer to having a Metro service in Tyne and Wear fit for the 21st century. The new state-of-the-art depot, which has been designed by Newcastle-based Ryder Architecture, will be environmentally friendly and we look forward to seeing it take shape over the next few years.”
Managing director Transport North East, Tobyn Hughes, added: “This investment in a new depot will revolutionise our maintenance facilities, creating a modern and energy efficient home for the new train fleet. It’s a development that will secure the long-term future of the Metro system and deliver a step-change in quality for our workforce.”
Paul Lilley, VolkerFitzpatrick’s operations director, explained: “We are delighted to have been appointed by Stadler to design and develop this new £70m facility. As a leading constructor of rail depots, we have extensive experience of managing such projects and look forward to helping Nexus further enhance their network and create a state-of-the-art facility in readiness for their fleet of METRO trains being introduced in 2023.
“Working in collaboration with Stadler, Nexus, other key stakeholders and our supply chain, we aim to demonstrate a one team approach for delivering this project, with sustainability and innovation at the forefront of the design, which will change the current landscape and bring a focal point to the local area.”
Nexus will continue to liaise with local residents and community groups close to the new depot, consulting with them and keeping them up to speed on the depot’s progress.
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