A proposal by transport chiefs to switch a rail base could be good news for South Tyneside, claims a borough councillor.
Nexus, which manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, is considering a land sale, which could see it move its maintenance headquarters and depot site from Gosforth to a number of sites in the region – including industrial land in Hebburn.
Any further jobs boost for the town would be fantastic.John McCabe
Bosses at Nexus have confirmed that they have been approached by developers keen to purchase the land to the north of Gosforth.
They say there are no current plans to make the rail move – but South Tyneside councillor, John McCabe, says the plan could be a welcome economic boost for Hebburn.
Coun McCabe, who represents the Hebburn South ward, says a rail switch to the town could provide a “fantastic” jobs boost.
Coun McCabe said: “It would be great news without a doubt. Any companies coming into the town and bringing employment would be welcomed.”
He believes that if the town was chosen for the transport base, it would be a further side that economic growth in Hebburn is on the right track.
Coun McCabe added: “People often forget we have a very successful business park in Monkton and Siemens employs more than 1,100 people.
“Any further jobs boost for the town would be fantastic.”
Nexus says it would carry out a consultation process before giving any move the green light, but insists no firm plans to move are in place.
A Nexus spokesman said: “We have been approached by developers about land at Gosforth, including Metro’s maintenance headquarters and train depot.
“We have no plans to move Metro facilities at this time, and we would consult carefully through the North East Combined Authority first if we were thinking of doing so.”
Existing train facilities at Heaton and industrial land in Hebburn are thought to be the two most likely locations of the revamped depot.
The overhaul, believed to be being considered is part of a modernisation programme, that would include a new fleet of trains being put on the tracks between 2020 and 2025.
A new business riding into town would be good news for the borough’s economy – which has been hit by a number of recent setbacks.
Global cigarette filter factory Essentra, based in Jarrow, is set to close before the end of the year – with the loss of up to 220 jobs.
Family-owned H.Mullins Ltd, of Western Road, Jarrow, has been a long-standing supplier for the defence industry and once made Spitfire parts, also closed its doors earlier this year.