Marking completion of a major milestone for Thameslink Programme.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin formally opened the new Three Bridges train depot in Crawley, West Sussex built by VolkerFitzpatrick for Siemens and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) today. The depot, which is already home to two new Class 700 Desiro City trains, will play a significant part in housing and maintaining the new fleet for the Thameslink network.
The Three Bridges depot, along with a similar hi-tech train care centre being built in Hornsey, was constructed with an investment of over £300 million by Siemens and is part of Siemens’ wider investment in the UK through the Thameslink Programme.
As principal contractor, VolkerFitzpatrick undertook the construction of a five-road, 12-car maintenance building with associated stores, workshops and offices, train stabling and servicing roads on the site. Two carriage washing machines and a wheel lathe were also installed and the widening of two under bridges has also been completed as part of the work. On track works including the laying of new track, connection to the main network and signalling and overhead line installation were completed by sister company, VolkerRail.
The depot is the result of extensive collaboration between Siemens, GTR and Network Rail. It is fully signalled and incorporates key personnel safety features including a depot protection and emergency electrical isolation system. It has an automatic inspection facility, which through laser measurement can accurately predict when key train components need to be maintained or replaced. Other features include the installation of an in-cab simulator at the depot which will provide the specialist training each driver must undergo in order to drive a new Class 700 train, from theoretical practice to practical reality.
The official opening of Three Bridges welcomed stakeholders to view the trains, tour the depot floor and hear more about the project. Following the opening of Three Bridges, Hornsey is on track to be completed in Summer 2016.
Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Our plan for passengers is delivering real improvements for those who use Thameslink services. The opening of this state-of-the-art facility is a major milestone and paves the way for an impressive new fleet of hi-tech trains to come into service from Spring next year. The improvements will transform rail travel for millions of passengers, with better journeys on fantastic new Class 700 trains, improved connections and upgraded stations. The programme is also creating thousands of jobs across the country.”
Richard Offord, managing director of VolkerFitzpatrick said: “We are delighted to be able to deliver this ground-breaking facility to Siemens in preparation for the new Class 700 trains operating on the line.
“We have worked closely with Siemens to ensure that Three Bridges meets all the requirements of the new rolling stock so that services on the Thameslink and Great Northern routes can be maintained to the highest possible standards.”
Steve Scrimshaw, managing director, Rail Systems at Siemens, said: “The opening of Three Bridges is a major milestone for the broader Thameslink Programme and a great example of a significant infrastructure project and investment in our railways. We are absolutely delighted that all our hard work and investment will now begin to pay off and passengers will soon start to feel the very real impact from such a major project.”
Charles Horton, GTR’s chief executive officer, said: “We are thrilled that Siemens have handed us the keys to run this fabulous new depot. The new trains they will maintain for us here will transform our passengers’ journeys providing much more space for today’s busy South East commuter services and the latest in accessibility and onboard information.”
Andy Pitt, executive chairman of train owners Cross London Trains (XLT), added: “It is fantastic to see such a significant milestone reached as part of the Thameslink Programme. I would like to congratulate all of our Partners who have created a world class train maintenance facility which will be essential for delivering a super reliable new train fleet for passengers over many years to come.”
Thousands of jobs are being created as a result of the Thameslink Programme, including up to 2,000 in support of the new trains, across the UK supply chain in component manufacturing assembly, construction of new depots and subsequent maintenance. A considerable number of components for the new train are being manufactured by UK suppliers throughout the UK, further emphasising the UK rail industry’s ability to compete on a global scale.”