In January 2024, our team in Newcastle-upon-Tyne finished its last major works on the brand-new depot at Gosforth, on behalf of Stadler, the Swiss engineering company.
To complete the works at Gosforth Depot, the VolkerFitzpatrick team carefully planned and executed extensive works over the first two weekends in January 2024. The team completed a 96-hour Extended Closure of the Line (ECOL) with one of our key subcontractors, VolkerRail. The team installed just over 3km of Over Head Lines (OHL) to roads 1 – 9 and completed section proving. During the second weekend, the newly installed signalling system on roads 1-9 were integrated and the state-of-the-art digital signalling system went fully live.
These works conclude VolkerFitzpatrick’s major works on the £70 million depot which started in 2021 on the 100-year-old facility. The depot is designed to accommodate 46 new state-of-the-art trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro, which Stadler is manufacturing for Nexus. The new 12-acre depot has been designed to a high specification to ensure the availability and reliability of the fleet for decades to come.
The purpose-built facility can host a range of activities, including preventative and corrective maintenance and train presentation. It features four inspection roads and pits, a separate wheel lathe building and a wash-plant to clean train exteriors. There is a storage area for spare parts and materials, as well as spacious office facilities for training and support functions.
Other features 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, to heighten safety and security.
To minimise carbon emissions, the new depot makes use of premium insulation and has solar panels on the roof. It makes best use of natural light, providing an attractive environment for employees. Water is recycled on site and used for train washing facilities. There is a dedicated, secure area for bikes, and showers for people cycling to and from work. Charging bays for electric cars have been installed.
The structure of the original facility, built 100 years ago, was crushed in-situ and material was reused for tracks and the foundations of the new one. This helped maintain air quality and keep lorries off the roads, particularly those in the area close to the depot. Landscaping has made the site greener that it has ever been.
It was critical that the Metro service continued to run without disruption. Modern project management practices were used, and our team worked closely with the operational teams to ensure an awareness and understanding of each other’s activities. By communicating clearly, the project kept moving while still meeting the needs of the various stakeholders and minimising disruption to the local neighbourhood.
Cathy Massarella, Managing Director of Nexus, said: “It’s fantastic to see that the new £70m Gosforth Metro depot has been completed on time. Huge thanks go to the teams at Stadler and VolkerFitzpatrick for doing such a superb job as well as our own project team.”
Paul Lilley, Divisional Director for rail and depots for VolkerFitzpatrick, said: “It has been a privilege to work with Stadler and Nexus to deliver this depot, which will be integral in providing modern and reliable rail services for the Tyne and Wear Metro. Through the team’s dedication and collaborative spirit, we have been able to stay on track for completion and deliver the facility safely and efficiently – regardless of working on an active depot, and worldwide events that included a pandemic. I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank our supply chain who have made this possible – VolkerRail, NG Bailey, PLS engineering, First in Rail and A&M Electricals.”
Paul Patrick, Managing Director for Stadler Rail Service UK, said: “After three years of hard work, the new facility is now an asset to the local area and one that local residents and the wider community can be proud of. It has been built to a very high standard, with quality and precision at its heart, and its technologically sophisticated features will mean that trains can be maintained efficiently and speedily. This promotes an efficient, smooth-running railway for the benefit of passengers, supporting regional jobs and growth and helping the north east to flourish.”
Cathy Massarella, Managing Director of Nexus, continued: “The new depot will revolutionise Metro train maintenance. It’s transformative for the teams who work there, and provides a state of the art home for the new Metro train fleet. It brings fleet maintenance into the 21st century, ensuing that we have the very best facilities for many years to come.
“A huge amount of work has gone into the project. From the demolition and construction phases through to the creation of all 17 of the new train stabling lanes, overhead lines and signalling systems. It’s been built on exactly the same site as the previous Metro depot, but these new buildings bring a step change in quality. It’s a cleaner and brighter working environment, boasting a range of features to save energy and cut carbon emissions.
“The completion of Gosforth depot is another step on the road to a brighter future for the Tyne and Wear Metro. The work to get the new trains ready for service is continuing and that will be the next big milestone to come.”
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