Go North East opens new ‘super depot’

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£8.5m investment in 160-vehicle garage replaces two older depots

Go North East (GNE) has officially opened its brand new £8.5m ‘super depot’ Gateshead Riverside depot. The Mayor of Gateshead, Cllr Jack Graham MBE, performed the honours last Tuesday (January 28).

The 3,500 sq m depot, which became operational on the night of February 1, can accommodate 160 buses and is now home to more than 500 drivers and engineering staff.

The new, high-tech facility replaces garages at Sunderland Road in Gateshead and Winlaton which date back to the days of the tramways. All employees are transferring to the new building, which includes a brand new driver training school and the company’s occupational health department.

Kevin Carr, GNE MD, said: “This depot is the culmination of a significant £30m investment programme for our business in the region. We’ve bought more than 100 new buses for our services in Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, and Consett and invested £8.5m in this new facility in Gateshead.

“We are incredibly proud to have celebrated our 100th year in 2013 and this investment marks our dedication to serving the people of the north east with modern, efficient vehicles.”

David Brown, Group Chief Executive at Go-Ahead, said: “It is only by running a successful, profitable bus company that investment can be made. This brand new depot is solid proof of our longterm commitment to running buses in the North East. This investment goes alongside the £22m spent on new buses over the last two years; every penny made in the north east has been re-invested in the North East.”

The depot, developed by UKLEP and built by Surgo, covers 5.75 acres of brownfield land on Handy Drive, which was formerly the site of Dunston Power Station. The depot’s buses will operate on 120 services and drive 163,000 miles a week, with all vehicles returning to the depot each evening to be refuelled and washed over night.

The garage has storage for 140,000 litres of diesel fuel and four spill-free, high tech high speed fuel pumps capable of delivering 90 litres per minute.

The workshop has 15 bus ‘work stations’ accessed by 21 fully insulated fast action roller shutter doors. Manual handling is virtually eliminated thanks to service poles which have inbuilt electrical distribution, oil, anti-freeze, screen wash, water and air supplies.

The depot has a VOSA approved MOT testing centre that carries out five bus MOTs each week. Its VLT test equipment includes brake roller, shaker plates and a luminscope headlight tester.

The depot took 50 weeks to construct, including 20 weeks for civil engineering work, which included extensive underground work to make safe several large, deep coal dumps.