South Tyneside Council has approved plans submitted by Galliford Try to build an £8.4 million skills centre for the Tyne and Wear Metro.
The three-storey Metro Maintenance and Renewals Skills Centre will feature a 70m stretch of dual track, a metro driver training simulator and a station mockup, complete with a full length platform, ticket gates, PA system, CCTV and a help point.
It will be built on the site of South Shields’ original railway station, which is within the existing metro siding between Mile End Road and Salem Street, and will be used to conduct infrastructure and operations training for metro’s 1,000-strong workforce.
There will be space at the centre to stable a small number of trains and carry out light maintenance on them too.
Tobyn Hughes, managing director of Tyne and Wear Metro owner and operator Nexus, said: “Our new £8.4 million rail skills centre will deliver a step change in the quality of the training that we can provide to our staff, contractors and industry partners.
“This will be a state-of-the art training centre that will be vastly superior to the training facilities we have at the moment. This will be of huge benefit to our workforce and for the long term future of the Tyne and Wear Metro system.”
The project is being funded through a £7 million grant from the government’s Local Growth Fund Deal and a £1.4 million contribution from Nexus.
Major construction work is expected to start next May and be completed in spring, 2019. Galliford Try is building the centre, which is being designed by Stephen George + Partners.
Read more: Understanding arc flash