Metro bosses announce plans for £8million training centre in South Tyneside

A Metro train.

A Metro train.

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Metro bosses have unveiled plans for a multi-million-pound training centre in South Shields.

The £8million railway skills centre could be built in South Shields town centre - if a £7million funding bid is successful.

The centre would be used as the training base for more than 1,000 people who work on Metro, including contractors involved in the £350million modernisation of the urban rail system, which is used by 40 million passengers a year.

The skills centre would be built around existing Metro sidings, between Mile End Road and Salem Street in South Shields, on the site of the town’s original railway station, closed as the Metro line was built in the early 1980s.

Metro owner Nexus is now inviting residents and businesses to find out more about the proposed Metro Maintenance and Renewals Skills Centre at a drop-in session next week.

It wants to consult with local people before seeking outline planning permission from South Tyneside Council, and before funding is secured for the project through the Local Growth Fund.

A drop-in session will be held on Wednesday, June 29, from 2.30pm to 6.30pm at South Shields Library, in the Denmark Centre.

Nexus' director of rail and infrastructure, Raymond Johnston, said: “A new Skills Centre would allow us to raise the standard of training we offer to Metro staff, contractors and industry partners.

“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 would complement this redevelopment and bring new opportunities to the area.

"We are inviting local people to meet us and talk about our plans and how the facility would be built and used before we seek outline planning permission.”