Tyne and Wear Metro’s new temporary depot, which has been built to welcome the new £362 million train fleet, has officially become operational.
Located at Howdon in North Tyneside, the new depot will be used to on-track the new Metro trains from 2022, and for maintenance of the current rolling stock while the main Gosforth depot in Newcastle is completely rebuilt.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said it was another step in the process of getting new Metro trains – which will transform the customer experience when they start entering service.
Metro development director, Neil Blagburn, said: “We now have a dedicated facility to welcome the new Metro trains from 2022. Howdon is also a vital satellite depot for up to a quarter of the current fleet while we build the new main depot at Gosforth.
“It’s a small but important step towards getting the new Metro trains. When they roll off the production line in Switzerland they will be transported here by rail and Howdon will be the point where they are delivered on to our network before testing and training gets underway.
“We are investing £70 million on a totally new main depot at Gosforth. That reconstruction process starts in earnest next year, so we need Howdon to help us with that transitioning process.
“It’s a huge amount of investment in Metro and it gives it a really bright future which promises to be transformational for our customers and our workforce.”
Howdon depot, which has been built from scratch in just over a year, will be used for the cleaning and preparation of up to a quarter of the existing Metro fleet during a four-year transition to the new £70 million depot at Gosforth.
Work on the Gosforth depot has commenced and will start to ramp up in 2021.
The new Metro trains will be delivered through Howdon when the new trains are transported to the UK by rail from Switzerland via the Channel Tunnel – a process that is expected to start in 2022.