|Road:||A1(M) between J64 and J65|
Washington Motorway Services Area
Tyne and Wear
|Telephone number:||0191 4103436|
|Signposted from the road?||As Costa/Burger King (northbound)|
Greggs/Costa/Burger King (southbound)
|Previous operators:||Taverna, Granada|
|Previous names:||Washington-Birtley (Port/Virgo)|
|Services type:||Two sites located between junctions, connected by an internal bridge.|
|Visit Washington Northbound/Moto's official website|
Visit Washington Southbound/Moto's official website
A fairly old service area squished into the local area. The southbound site is actually located off the J64 exit sliproad, and traffic leaving the services has to cross this to rejoin the motorway.
Recently dropped its fuel prices so that it is one of very few services which are competing with local garages.
Main Amenities: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Full Hou$e, Lucky Coin (southbound only), Showers
Restaurants: Burger King, Costa, Greggs (southbound only), Costa Express, Krispy Kreme (southbound only)
Motel: Travelodge[book rooms: north south]
Forecourt: BP, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme (southbound only), Air1 AdBlue
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12.50 and HGVs £19.50, or £21 to include a £9 food voucher.
Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details. The location code is 2474 (northbound) and 2475 (southbound).
The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.
Trivia and History
Esso already owned a petrol station here, known as Port (as in Portobello). When the A1 was upgraded to motorway, the Ministry of Transport offered them the opportunity to build a motorway service area here. The petrol station closed on 1 June 1968. Another possible site at Pea Flatts was considered.
The Highways Agency have listed Washington as an "approved truckstop", something which surprisingly few service areas are. Previously the Highways Agency's approved truckstop was the Nightowl Truckstops site at the rear of the services which accessed from the local road network.
A Greggs outlet opened here on 14 March 2013 on the southbound side.
Oh, and to any Americans who many be reading this, this is the real Washington we're talking about.
Much of the time planning the services was spent naming it. Esso asked if the original name could be changed because at the time motorway services held a much higher profile than ordinary petrol stations, and they felt the phrase "Esso's Port Services" could be confused with other projects they were working on.
When designing the motorway, the Ministry used a temporary name of Vigo, but then confirmed the services would be called Washington. Chester-le-Street rural District council objected to this, and wanted it to be called Birtley. After much debate, the Ministry reluctantly agreed to settle the matter by officially renaming it Washington-Birtley. When Esso found out they were not impressed, as they felt the new name was cumbersome and difficult to market, and they felt one of the names would be dropped naturally anyway.
The services did open as Washington-Birtley, but with much material referring to them as just Washington, and after some time Granada shortened the name.
The design of the building was airport inspired, aiming for modern, pan-European travellers. As part of its desire to be futuristic, the food it offered was part cooked, then put into a vending machine, where customers could buy it and take it to a microwave along with cooking instructions. This was quite novel at the time, and there were severe concerns motorists would not take well to the automated catering.
The futuristic catering was really about getting motorists in and out the building as quickly as possible, as the car park was only small. There were 420 seats in the main restaurant and 285 car parking spaces.
When it opened, the footbridge, which spans three sliproads, was the longest in the UK. The northbound side had an 'up' escalator to take people up into the "futuristic and robotic" southbound services.
In May 2012, Visit England rated the services as 3 stars. In August 2011, they gave the southbound services 3 stars and northbound 2.
In 2005 and again in 2006, the services won a five-star loo award.
|Durham (11 miles)||Services on the A1(M)||Seaton Burn (A1, 16 miles)|
|Scotch Corner (A1, 34 miles)|
Barton Park Truckstop (32 miles)
|Moto services||none nearby|
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