Swiss train manufacturer Stadler has commissioned VolkerFitzpatrick to build a brand-new depot at Gosforth for its new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro, set to enter passenger service from 2023.
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. Stadler has a contract to service and maintain its new 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 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 director of 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.”
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 2024.
“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.”