Wheels are in motion at new Perry Barr bus garage
National Express West Midlands is continuing its journey to net zero by 2030 with the start of full operations at its brand-new, environmentally-sustainable bus and maintenance garage in Perry Barr.
After making their last departure from the current 90 year old depot on the morning of Saturday 10 December, a fleet of 170 buses will return from routes across the city to the modern, state-of-the-art facility on the junction of Wellhead Lane and Aston Lane.
The 6.5 acre site will provide a new base for over 450 drivers, engineers and back office workers and includes a cafe, rest areas, a separate quiet space, shower facilities and dedicated training rooms; as well as a whole host of energy efficient measures and the capacity to house a full fleet of electric buses and their chargers.
David Bradford, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands explains: “From the very start of the project, we wanted to create a site that offered our people a high quality working environment but to also ensure a low environmental impact in both the build and future operations.”
Construction firm BAM worked with National Express to re-plan and re-engineer the schem to enable it to achieve a highly sustainable status.
The new Perry Barr garage will include:
- Parking spaces for over 170 buses
- 12 maintenance bays, 3 fuel bays, 3 bus washes and 1 chassis wash
- 150 solar panels
- Heating via a hybrid system including Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP), electric overhead radiant panels & Variable Refrigerant Flow, supplemented with solar panels - meaning there is no need for gas onsite.
- A 432m2 green roof with a 22 species planting mix on an ultra-light sedum. By next summer, there will be up to 90% coverage helping improve air quality and habitats for wildlife
- A green wall on acoustic panelling to help improve air quality whilst reducing noise pollution. A wild flower garden has also been planted behind the acoustic panelling to improve habitats for wildlife.
- A self-contained water recycling system for bus washes
- Rainwater harvesting for toilets and urinals
- 2 snooker tables and 1 fish tank
David added: “By being able to design something from scratch, we’ve transformed how we work from top to bottom. Through evolving our garage and operations we’ll use less energy, be even safer, have more efficient ways of working, and are better equipped to train and look after our people - while providing great value transport for the people of the West Midlands.
“Working in public transport is a fantastic career and we are actively recruiting both drivers and engineers to join us at our new Perry Barr garage. We’ve recently increased pay rates and improved flexibility with part time work, four-day weeks, and shorter week options. Full training is provided so I’d encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch.”
The new garage is part of the wider regeneration of the Perry Barr area by Birmingham City Council. Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“As well as delivering new homes and improvements to community facilities like the Alexander Stadium, the programme of regeneration in Perry Barr is also delivering a range of sustainable transport options that will make the area one of the most well connected in the region.
These include the revamped Perry Barr railway station, Sprint bus rapid transit routes, better options for cycling and walking – and also this brilliant new facility for National Express West Midlands.
This investment in a new depot is helping lay the foundations for a cleaner bus network of the future. It’s great that Perry Barr, which is undergoing such a significant transformation, is at the heart of this green progress.”
BAM has been the principal contractor for the design and construction of the project. Steve Roome, BAM Construction Director, said: “The success of this scheme is down to trust and teamwork. BAM has been able to adapt around National Express West Midlands’ needs and to help them achieve a greener, lower carbon scheme.
“Our collaborative approach has worked well in giving our client the options they needed to deliver a fantastic new, future-proofed, facility both for their people and for the people of Birmingham.”