Firm appointed to build Metro's £70m new train depot

Artists impression of new depot
15 June 2020

Stadler has appointed VolkerFitzpatrick to build a new depot for the for Tyne and Wear Metro.

The Swiss train builder has officially commissioned VolkerFitzpatrick to build Metro’s new fleet depot at Gosforth in Newcastle.

The £70m facility will accommodate the new state-of-the-art trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro, which are set to enter passenger service from 2023.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, named Stadler as the firm that will build, service and maintain its new trains for 35 years at the rebuilt facility, underscoring a commitment to the regional economy, jobs, and the supply chain in North East England.

VolkerFitzpatrick is one of the UK’s leading engineering and construction firms. They will start work on the new Metro depot later this year.

Rob Baxter, Managing Director at Stadler Rail Service UK, said: “The appointment of VolkerFitzpatrick to build a new 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.”

Cllr 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, said: “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. 

“The current Metro depot building has been there since 1923, so this work is long overdue and when it’s completed it will be an historic moment in the proud history of the Metro system. We’re very pleased that, despite the crisis caused by Covid-19, Stadler is continuing to make progress with the preparations to build and maintain the new Metro fleet.”

Paul Lilley, VolkerFitzpatrick’s Operations Director, said: “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.”

The new Metro fleet, comprising 42 Metro trains, is being manufactured and delivered by Stadler, who will maintain them for 35 years. It has pledged to use local suppliers, engage with local businesses and educational establishments, and invest in the new workforce, set to transfer to its business later this year.  

The new purpose-built depot represents an investment of £70 million as part of the £362m fleet replacement programme led by Nexus, the public body which runs the Tyne and Wear Metro.

It will be designed to ensure maximum availability and reliability of the fleet for decades to come. It 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 support functions. 

With inspection roads and pits, cranes, jacks, test facilities, automatic train-checking equipment and a wheel-lathe, the 12-acre site close to Regent Centre station will also 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 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.

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 progress. 

Stadler has secured several orders in the UK over the last few years, and this one for Nexus, awarded in January 2020, is its third major contract in this market. With fleets being supplied forMerseyrail and Glasgow Subway, passengers on all underground trains in the UK outside London will soon be travelling on Stadler trains.



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