Ahead of the arrival of the first train at Gosforth depot, work to build a state-of-the-art new depot is nearing completion, with the main building now up and running. This is a critical milestone in the project, which will see Stadler deliver a brand new fleet of trains and a modern, purpose-built facility, close to the centre of Newcastle.
Stadler has recently finished the construction of the main building at Gosforth depot, soon to become the base for the new fleet of 46 trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro.
Covering 12 acres just outside Newcastle city-centre, the new facility which has been built by VolkerFitzpatrick, was 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 and train presentation. The new facility features inspection roads and pits, a separate wheel lathe building and a wash-plant to clean train exteriors. There will be storage for spare parts and materials and office space for training and support functions.
The building boasts fantastic environmental credentials, with premium insulation, minimum energy requirements and solar panels on the roof. It makes best use of natural light, providing an attractive environment for employees. Water will be 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. Charging bays for electric cars will be installed.
Michael Steiner, programme director at Stadler, commented: “The depot is really starting to take shape now, and we’re delighted to have completed the main building, which is a significant milestone in the project. It’s fantastic to be using this new facility already, and our employees are delighted with the new office space. The quality and specification of the new facility are second to none, and it’s been tailormade for the new trains, set to enter passenger service next year.”
Head of fleet and depot replacement at Nexus, Michael Richardson, said: “I’m pleased to say that Stadler has the new £70m Metro depot ready to welcome the new Metro train fleet, and they are now transferring their workforce over to the modern new facilities.
“They have created a world class Metro maintenance depot that will transform how our trains are looked after for many decades to come.
“The current Gosforth depot is more than 100 years old and the remaining buildings will be demolished in the new year. The depot workforce are moving into brighter, cleaner and vastly improved facilities, which really will be transformational for them and for Metro.”
Other features of the building include a component drop to enhance maintenance efficiency, monorail cranes on both light maintenance roads and an overhead crane on the heavy maintenance roads for lifting roof components. A room dedicated to managing train movements digitally has been strategically positioned to have a bird’s eye view of the depot.
The project involved demolishing the old depot building while constructing the new one and laying eight new tracks, enabling both the old trains and the new ones to be maintained during the transition.
Stadler is manufacturing a total of 46 new Metro trains for Nexus, with production well under way. The new Metro trains, which will be 15 times more reliable and cut energy consumption by 30 per cent, will have modern features including charging points, air conditioning and a step-change in accessibility. There will also be an automatic sliding step at every passenger door of the new trains, making travel easier for Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair passengers, as well as for people with push-chairs, luggage or bicycles.