Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, has started work on the construction of a temporary train depot in North Tyneside – which is to be used for the delivery of a new Metro train fleet.
The temporary depot, which is to be located on a former landfill site in Howdon, will be used as a maintenance facility for the some of the current Metro fleet while the main Metro depot in Gosforth in Newcastle is rebuilt.
It will play a key role in the phased delivery of the new Metro fleet, which is scheduled to begin arriving at the end of 2021.
Nexus aims to have the temporary depot ready for use by the summer of 2020.
The site will be used for the cleaning and preparation of up to ten Metro trains during the redevelopment of the Gosforth depot.
North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “The new depot will play an important role in helping to bring the new Metro fleet of trains into service for the benefit of passengers across our region. It also makes good use of a disused plot of land and we look forward to seeing the project take shape.”
Managing Director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “We need a temporary Metro depot while we transition to permanent new maintenance facilities and the new Metro train fleet.
“Our main depot in Gosforth is going to be completely rebuilt and this work will happen in stages, so we must have a bespoke location to store and maintain our trains while that project is delivered over the next few years.
“The site in North Tyneside is ideal for us, and it can also be used as the delivery point when the Metro new trains start arriving.”
Nexus has secured Government grant funding of £337m towards the projected £362m cost of designing and building a new train fleet and depot. This and the ongoing maintenance of the fleet over 35 years makes the total budget about £500m.
Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd will be building the temporary Metro depot on behalf of Nexus.
Rob Harwood, Buckingham’s Rail Contracts Director, said: “We are delighted to have secured this prestigious contract and are looking forward to working closely with Nexus to complete this critical component of the overall Metro upgrade programme.”
Plans to build the temporary depot were approved by North Tyneside Council in November 2018.