On Thursday 26 October Blackburn’s new £23m train maintenance depot was officially opened.
The facility will be used to maintain up to 30 Northern diesel trains and will be a key part of the modernisation of the railway in the North of England.
Part of the wider Great North Rail Project, the depot was constructed by Network Rail and boasts state-of-the-art engineering equipment as well as advanced environmental features.
The depot forms part of an ambitious modernisation programme at Northern and will be home to more than 100 employees. As part of these plans, Blackburn and the surrounding area will also benefit from station improvements, more rail services and new or ‘as new’ trains; all providing better journeys by 2020.
Rail Minister Paul Maynard, who unveiled the depot alongside Northern and Network Rail, said: “I’m delighted to officially open this state-of-the-art depot for Northern. It’s a big step in the transformation of rail services under the Great North Rail Project.”
David Hoggarth, Director of Rail North Ltd, said: “It is fantastic to see the realisation of investment milestones such as these. The opening of the Blackburn maintenance depot will support local jobs. The area will also see further benefits from rail franchise investment over the next few years, including new and refurbished rail carriages, an increase in rail services (including 2 trains per hour throughout the day between Blackburn and Manchester from December 2017), new high-quality ‘Northern Connect’ services and improved ticketing.”
Rail North supports Northern’s plans to transform rail travel and services across the North of England which will deliver substantial passenger benefits and benefit the UK economy.
Andy Morgan, senior sponsor at Network Rail, said: “By 2022 the Great North Rail Project will have delivered more than £1bn of improvements for customers across the north of England. By increasing capacity by 40 per cent, passengers will see more journeys on better, faster trains.
“As we unlock capacity across the North as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, Northern and TransPennine Express are upgrading trains and building new ones for customers. We need to ensure there are facilities for these to be cleaned and maintained each night for the benefit of the thousands of customers who travel on them each day.”