David Brown and Kevin Carr of Go NorthEast
Tom Keighley

Bus operator launches £8.5 million "super depot"

Bus operator Go North East has opened an £8.5 million “super depot” on Gateshead riverside - topping a £30 million investment in the region from the firm.

The 3,500 sq m depot will accommodate 160 buses and will be home to more than 500 drivers and engineering staff.

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

The depot, developed by UKLEP and built by Surgo, breathes new life into 5.75 acres of derelict brownfield land on Handy Drive, which was formerly the site of Dunston Power Station.

Kevin Carr, Go North East managing director, said: “This depot is the culmination of a significant 30 million pound 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 £8.5 million 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.”

The depot’s 160 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 depot 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 that 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 state-of-the-art luminscope headlight tester.

Gateshead Riverside 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 from the former power station.

Go North East is the region’s largest bus company, operating a fleet of nearly 700 buses and employing more than 2,100 people. Providing good value bus services that meet customer needs, Go North East is continuously challenging itself to improve and innovate.

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