Nexus, which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, has been given the green light to build an £8.4m railway skills centre in South Shields town centre.
The Metro Maintenance and Renewals Skills Centre will be a state-of-art, bespoke training facility for Nexus to deliver a wide range of infrastructure and operations training to staff.
Planning permission for the development, submitted by Galliford Try, was confirmed by South Tyneside Council on Monday 19 March.
The centre will be used as the training base for more than 1,000 people who work on the Metro.
The project is being funded through a £7m grant from the Government’s Local Growth Fund Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and North East Combined Authority and a £1.4m contribution by Nexus.
The new facility will boast a 70 metre stretch of dual track for Nexus to carry out rail infrastructure training, including track, track points, signalling and overhead line.
The new three-storey training centre itself will house a new computerised Metro driver training simulator.
Nexus managing director Tobyn Hughes said: “Our new £8.4m 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 site in South Shields offers an excellent location on the existing Metro network. The town centre is already enjoying major regeneration through South Tyneside Council’s 365 Masterplan and we are partners in building a new transport interchange.
“The new Skills Centre will complement this redevelopment and bring new opportunities to the area.”
The Skills Centre will be built within the existing Metro sidings between Mile End Road and Salem Street in South Shields, on the site of the town’s original railway station, which was closed when the Metro line was built in the early 1980s.
Work on the new building is set to start next May and is scheduled for completion in Spring 2019.