As part of the Great North Rail Project, Wigan – Springs Branch sidings is to gain a substantial new £46m train depot together with maintenance facilities. The brand new depot will not only boost jobs for Greater Manchester but will also streamline passenger journeys across the north.
Rail passenger numbers in the North of England are set to double over the next 25 years and as a consequence more depots are needed in order to supply more frequent services and additional trains by 2020.
Network rail are currently adapting an existing freight yard which is located in Ince-in-Makerfield which will house and maintain 24 electric and diesel trains. The overall project is set to create nearly 20 jobs. Network Rail believe that the location provides ideal access to the electrified rail network Wigan – Bolton line and will enable Northern trains to move across the north during the evening in preparation for next day services.
Ben Ackroyd, Engineering Director at Northern, added: “By 2020 we will have retired all Pacers, refurbished our entire fleet and, of course, will have introduced our brand new electric and diesel trains. We will need state-of-the-art facilities to look after these trains and Springs Branch is a key part of this.”
Wigan Council’s Director of Economy & Skills, Becca Heron, welcomed the news, calling it a “key component” of the city’s economic strategy. The development will see the installation of new overhead line equipment to power the electric trains. It will also include staff accommodation, train washing and fuelling capabilities.”
Work is expected to be completed in December 2019.