The new – and temporary – Tyne and Wear Metro depot at Howdon in North Tyneside is nearing completion with an official opening due later this summer. The new facility will be used to outstation a number of trains each night whilst work is undertaken to replace the current depot at South Gosforth.
New tracks and overhead have now been installed with the new maintenance shed erected and fitted out. There are also welfare facilities for staff in situ. It was planned that the overhead would be energised over the weekend of 25th and 26th July.
Tabita Callaghan, Project Manager, said: “We are now close to the completion of the Howdon Metro depot. The new tracks, the overhead lines and the new building itself are all just about ready to welcome trains. The site will be vital for the future of Metro because there won’t be enough space for all of the trains when work starts on the main depot rebuilding project at Gosforth. Howdon gives us the capacity to stable up to one quarter of the Metro train fleet there and carry out light maintenance work at that location. There are new facilities for Metro drivers and maintenance staff who in the future will need to book on for duty at Howdon.”
Whilst the depot at Howdon was conceived as a temporary facility whilst South Gosforth was rebuilt there is now a suggestion it may have a future beyond the five year project to transform the original depot. With an extra four trains now being ordered as part of the Metro Flow project it is said that Howdon will provide Metro with “additional maintenance flexibility well into the future.”