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Washington

Washington
Moto
Washington
Road:A1(M) between J64 and J65
Address:Moto
Washington Motorway Services Area
A1 M
Birtley
Chester-le-Street
Tyne and Wear
DH3 2SJ
Telephone number:0191 4103436
Signposted from the road?As Costa/Burger King (northbound)
Greggs/Costa/Burger King (southbound)
Opened:1970 (southbound)
1980s? (northbound)
Previous operators:Taverna, Granada
Previous names:Washington-Birtley (Port/Virgo)
Grid reference:NZ283550
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
Foursquare

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.

Contents

Facilities

Main Amenities: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Full Hou$e, Lucky Coin, Showers
Restaurants: Burger King, Costa, Greggs, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme
Shops: WHSmith
Motel: Travelodge[book rooms: north south]
Forecourt: BP, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Air1 AdBlue

Parking Prices

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

The 'skywalk'.

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.

The motorway sign for these services includes the current price of fuel, and is perhaps the only one that is still updated.

Oh, and to any Americans who many be reading this, this is the real Washington we're talking about.

Site and Operator

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.

Naming Contention

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.

Highway authorities still refer to the site by its full name

Design

The once-exciting walkway, now rather bleak.

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. That western end of the footbridge still survives today, albeit with a smaller amenity building tacked onto the end of it.

In the main amenity building, visitors from the northbound side arrived on a raised walkway, offering a view over the serving area. This walkway still survives, albeit not nearly as exciting. A transport cafe existed on the lower level, although the land slope here meant this was only visible at the HGV side. This was also useful for hiding a deliveries bay. Southbound traffic had an entrance at either end, the HGV entrance involving a winding concrete sliproad.

Survey Results

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.

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
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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