A new – and temporary – depot is to be built for the Tyne and Wear Metro whilst the current depot at South Gosforth is rebuilt. The new depot will be at Howdon and will be used for overnight maintenance of up to the trains as well as playing a key role in the phased delivery of the new Metro fleet, which are scheduled to start arriving at the end of 2021.
The site of the depot is on Wallsend Road and is a former landfill site. No dates have been announced for when the depot will be built and just how long temporary is but permission was granted by North Tyneside Council on 27th November.
As part of the Tyne and Wear Metro’s modernisation – which will include a fleet of new trains (currently out for tender) – the current South Gosforth Depot will be redeveloped which will reduce capacity for the ongoing maintenance of the current fleet, hence the need for this temporary building.
Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus, said: “As Metro and its staff transition to these new facilities over the coming years we need a temporary depot, which will be at Howdon in North Tyneside. This site will be used to carry out routine fleet maintenance work when we are rebuilding the main depot in South Gosforth. It will allow us to stable up to ten Metro trains at a different location as the building work progresses. The Howdon depot will also play a vital role as the new Metro fleet starts to arrive in late 2021. It will be the access point where we take delivery of the new trains in what will be a phased programme of deliveries.”
Meanwhile, Nexus continue to negotiate with the five firms bidding for the contract to build the new trains with a final decision on the successful company set to be made at the end of 2019. These trains will have improved interiors allowing better passenger flow, better security and accessibility. The first of the new trains will be delivered at the end of 2021 before being introduced into service between 2022 and 2024.