Work starts on redevelopment of South Gosforth Depot

Work has started on the £70 million development of South Gosforth Depot on the Tyne and Wear Metro with contractors have started to remove large sections of track and overhead line.

As part of the introduction of a new fleet of trains – to be built in Switzerland by Stadler – the existing depot at South Gosforth is to be upgraded as part of a four year project. With Stadler having already taken over maintenance of the current fleet ahead of the introduction of the new fleet they have appointed VolkerFitzpatrick to redevelop the depot.

The main demolition works are due to start next month with these preparatory works due to pave the way for those to get underway.

Neil Blagburn, Metro Development Director, said: “I’m delighted that work has started on site for our new £70m depot at Gosforth. This marks the beginning of a four-year project to create a modern, new home for our new train fleet, which is set to enter service from 2023. Our construction partner has mobilised on site and is now removing the original tracks and overhead lines from the depot sidings and within the depot buildings. This paves the way for the larger scale demolition work to start in the coming months and creates the footprint that is needed for the new depot building. The new depot will be transformational for Metro. The current facility is 100 years old and needs to be replaced with modern facilities. It will deliver a step-change in quality and functionality for the maintenance teams. The depot will transform over a four-year period and the old buildings will disappear in phases. We are storing up to a quarter of our trains at a temporary at Howdon throughout this process.”

Rob Baxter, Managing Director for Stadler Rail Service UK, said: “This preparatory work is an essential part of the process to construct the purpose-built depot that will accommodate the new state-of-the art trains being manufactured by Stadler.  The new depot has been designed to ensure maximum availability and reliability of the fleet and will vastly improve the working environment for our staff. We are pleased to see contractor, VolkerFitzpatrick, reach another stage in the project, which brings us one step closer to our new trains entering passenger service.”

Marcus Dench, VolkerFitzpatrick Senior Project Manager, added: “The start of these works marks the beginning of a complex three year project for our team. As we continue to remove track and overhead line equipment, our aim is to ensure all redundant materials are reused elsewhere, as much as possible, to offset any waste from site and become a sustainable project. As we continue to adapt the current depot, we also aim to keep local residents informed of our progress through our community app. We will use the platform to post updates on the depot’s construction, including details of upcoming work activities, news, and initiatives and events for the local community.”

The start of the work at the depot with the removal of much of the track at the eastern end (beyond the red and white barriers).

There was also a bit of shunting at the depot during this visit where 4081 and 4028 are seen. (Both Photographs by Trevor Hall, 25th February 2021)

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