VolkerRail has adapted the existing freight yard in Ashton-in-Makerfield, creating a new facility for Northern to stable and service 32 electric and eight diesel trains.
Network Rail has invested £46 million into the project at Springs Branch (next to the West Coast main line) as part of the Great North Rail Project – a vast programme of improvements to transform train travel for customers in the North.
The new facility provides more flexibility for Northern to move their trains around the network overnight in preparation for services the next day. It also makes room for more trains that will meet the growth in passenger numbers, set to double over the next 25 years.
VolkerRail was appointed as principal contractor for this project in February 2018 and has spent 20 months upgrading the sidings, including:
A key element to the project was ensuring the depot was accessible to both design and electric trains. With a fully electrified depot, Northern are able to move their trains across the north, overnight in preparation for services the next day.
The team has recovered six signals, installed seven new signals and six new powered point machines. Installation of AWS’s for three signals and installed new train describer. Major works to increase the capacity of the existing Westpac system was also undertaken.
The team has constructed a five-apron depot complete with 500m of concrete slab track and all on the existing sidings footprint. As part of the project the team renewed 18 point ends including a scissors crossover.
Lauren Rodgers, project manager at Network Rail.
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