A new smartphone app has been launched to keep the community up to date with the £70m project to rebuild the Tyne and Wear Metro Depot.
VolkerFitzpatrick, the contractor appointed by Stadler to build the new depot at Gosforth in Newcastle, has developed the app to give those living and working around the site a better understanding of the works.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said the app would be a great way to keep the public up speed with progress at the touch of a button.
Throughout the course of the project, the team will use the app to post updates on the depot’s construction, including details of upcoming work activities, news, and initiatives and events for the local community. The app also allows people to submit queries, which can be reviewed and answered in real time, and to provide feedback on the project’s development.
Marcus Dench, VolkerFitzpatrick Project Manager, said: “Our team is focused on keeping residents informed of our progress, to help build a positive relationship with the community and the wider supply chain.
“This is a big step forward in the way construction companies connect with local communities. It’s not only a simple communication tool that suits people’s lifestyles - especially during the current pandemic – but is also a platform which can be updated instantly, helping us provide the most up-to-date information available.”
“We also aim to use the app to give an insight into the rail industry, providing learning resources to families, and to showcase the potential career paths available, as we highlight the different roles and skill sets needed to make this project a success.”
Cathy Massarella, Major Projects Director for Nexus, said: “The construction of a £70m new depot by VolkerFitzpatrick and Stadler is a vital element in our £500m plans to transform local public transport by 2025 – we cannot introduce new trains without new depot facilities.
“At Nexus we pride ourselves on keeping our communities involved in our projects and this app is another innovative solution to reach stakeholders and neighbours, letting them ask questions easily and find out about what’s happening to create this major environmentally-friendly new facility.”
Rob Baxter, Managing Director of Stadler Rail Service UK, said: “We have committed to putting localism at the heart of this project. Part of that is about engaging proactively with the local community through a range of channels, in our capacity as a local business, a local employer and a neighbour.
“Over the next few years, while the work is carried out, VolkerFitzpatrick’s app will provide a very useful tool for local residents interested in how the work to build a new depot is taking shape.”
The app is available to download for both Android and Apple devices. To download the app, simply scan the QR code or search ‘Gosforth Depot’ in Google Play for Android devices, or the App Store for Apple devices.
The new Metro depot will be home to the new train fleet over the coming years, heralding a bright future for the transport system. The preparatory works will pave the way for demolition to start in the Spring.
It is expected to take four years for the new Metro depot to be ready.
Stadler, the Swiss train builder, is delivering the new Metro train fleet on behalf of Nexus, and has appointed Volker to build the depot. It took over maintenance of the old fleet in October last year and will look after the new trains for 35 years.
The new trains, which will be 15 times more reliable and will cut energy consumption by 30%, will have modern features including charging points, air conditioning and a step-change in accessibility.
Among new features will be an automatic sliding step at every door of the new trains, making travel easier for Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair passengers as well as people with children’s buggies, luggage or bicycles.