Whitley Bay Metro station canopy restoration work could restart 'soon' after part acquisition of collapsed contractor

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Rail chiefs now expect work on a restoration of Whitley Bay Metro station to restart, despite the collapse of its former contractor.

The £5m project to refurbish the historic glass roof at the station was plunged into doubt when it emerged last month that the Buckingham Group was on the brink of administration.

But there was welcome news for bosses at Metro operator Nexus as construction firm Kier snapped up the stricken firm’s rail division.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After the reported £9.6m acquisition, Kier is now set to take over the Whitley Bay scheme and there are hopes that construction will get back under way soon.

Roof repairs at Whitley Bay Metro station. (Photo by Nexus)Roof repairs at Whitley Bay Metro station. (Photo by Nexus)
Roof repairs at Whitley Bay Metro station. (Photo by Nexus)

A Nexus spokesperson said: “This week it was announced that Kier, a leading UK construction, infrastructure services, and property group, has agreed to acquire the rail division of Buckingham Group.

“We will be providing a further update on the Whitley Bay Metro station refurbishment scheme in due course, as we expect this will mean that the work on the canopy will be gearing up again soon.”

The station’s £5.3m renovation will include replacing the canopy’s glass with a “more robust” alternative, as well as strengthening and repainting its steelwork.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Earlier this year, a section of the roof collapsed into the station marketplace during a storm – with the broken panes narrowly avoiding hitting a stallholder trading below.

The glazing directly above the Metro tracks will also be reinstated, providing a more sheltered environment for passengers.

Kier’s acquisition of Buckingham Group’s rail arm has saved 180 jobs, though more than 400 redundancies have been made from other sections of the company.

Joe Incutti, group managing director at Kier Transportation, said: “The Buckingham Group rail business had built a very strong reputation for assured delivery in the rail sector.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I am pleased that we now welcome 180 new colleagues into Kier Transportation. The team will further strengthen our capability and this helps to bring an end to a period of uncertainty for former Buckingham Group clients and employees by ensuring continued delivery on existing projects, and the retention of hugely important skills and expertise in the rail sector.”

Buckingham Group, which has now entered administration, said it had suffered “deep losses and interim cash deficits incurred on three major stadium and arena contracts, and a substantial earthworks contract in Coventry”.

The company was involved in the redevelopment of Liverpool’s Anfield stadium and repairs to Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s ground.

Rob Parker, director at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said on behalf of the Buckingham Group’s administrators: “The joint administrators are very pleased to confirm a sale of the rail division and HS2 contract to the Kier Group, which safeguards jobs for 180 people.

“The joint administrators intend to continue to operate part of the company’s head office function for a short period, in support of the purchaser, retaining approximately 45 employees.”