Yvonne Fovargue MP for Makerfield, visited Springs Branch railway sidings last week (Friday 6 July) to view progress on the construction of brand new train maintenance facilities.
The existing freight yard in Ashton-in-Makerfield is being adapted to stable and maintain 24 electric and eight diesel trains for Northern – creating almost 20 jobs in the process.
With the number of passengers set to double in the north over the next 25 years, more depots are needed to enable the more frequent services and additional trains planned by 2020.
The location provides easy access to the electrified rail network and the £46m state-of-the-art depot will provide more flexibility for Northern to move their trains across the north overnight in preparation for services the next day. It will be brought into use from December 2019.
Yvonne Fovargue MP said: “The decision to invest at Springs Branch is good news for the local economy, providing new jobs and contributing to the wider modernisation of our rail infrastructure. I was very impressed by the scale of the works being undertaken on site and the care that is being taken to minimise disruption for residents living near to the construction site. Once completed the ‘state-of-the-art’ depot will provide more flexibility to move trains overnight in preparation for services the next day.”
Chris Montgomery, programme director for Network Rail, London North Western route said: “This investment, part of the Great North Rail Project, will provide a purpose-built train depot and is another step forward in transforming the railway in the north. Train customers, local communities, businesses, the economy as a whole – all stand to benefit from new and more frequent services.”
Liam Sumpter, regional director for Northern, said: “Springs Branch depot is a fantastic investment; not just for the rail industry, but also for the entire local area.
“As well as bringing new jobs to the community, the depot and the flexibility it brings will help Northern run new and more frequent services, all benefitting local people across the region.”
For more information on the Great North Rail Project visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/our-railway-upgrade-plan/key-projects/great-north-rail-project