£46m spent on Wigan train depot

Deborah Lillis

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.

Midland Metro Alliance Event

Midland Metro Alliance Event

Deborah Lillis

Today the MECX team attended the Midland Metro Alliance Event which was offering dozens of Black Country businesses the chance to showcase their services in relation to the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill tram extension project. With construction anticipated to begin in 2019, the scale of the route will produce a diverse range of opportunities for the MECX Group ranging from demolition to bridgework, labour, drainage, lighting plus much more.

Siemens Appoints New MD

Siemens Appoints New MD

Deborah Lillis

In the latest news arena Siemens announced the appointment of Will Wilson as the new UK Managing Director (MD) for its Rolling Stock business, with effective from the 1st of May. The current MD Vernon Barker will be leaving the business at the end of April to pursue other interests.

Will, a former Army Officer, with over 25 years of senior management experience has been working for Siemens since 2013.  Will has spent the last couple of years working in Spain as Head of International Sales, Mainline, leading a team responsible for all global mainline sales.  Will’s prestige career has seen him as Managing Director for Alstom Transport Information Systems and Managing Director of GE Transportation.

Will’s office base will be Siemens’ London Euston headquarters of the Rolling Stock business, and according to Gordon Wakeford, Managing Director of Siemens Mobility Division in the UK “we are delighted Will is moving back to the UK and that we have a strong successor to take our business to the next level.  His industry expertise and knowledge will be essential as we move forwards.”

The Mecx Group Board of Directors and Management team would like to wish Will every future success in his new role.


Small Talk Saves Lives

Small Talk Saves Lives

Deborah Lillis

At MECX we are doing all we can to prevent rail suicides and support any of those people who may be affected by them. Every suicide affects family, friends, commuters and indeed our employees.  That’s why at MECX we support the “Small Talk, Saves Lives” Campaign

According to the Network Rail safety campaign on suicide prevention, the number of suicides on the railway over the last two years has fallen by 18 per cent. In 2016/17, 237 people took their lives on the railway – the lowest number since 2010/11. Over the same period, railway employees, police officers and members of the public have intervened in over 2,500 suicide attempts on Britain’s railway.

For every life lost on the railway six are saved. Sadly, of those who do seek to take their lives on the railway one in five fail and suffer severe life-changing injuries.

Thankfully however, on the 21st March two of our MECX team (Luke Kelly & Dean Cox) were able to save a young lady who appeared to be in an emotional crisis at Aston Station near Aston Villa Football Ground.

Whilst both men were carrying out their nightly duties at around 00:15hrs on 21st March, a member of the public approached our team advising that a young girl was acting in a strange manner at Aston Station.  With not a minute to lose both Dean and Luke very carefully approached the emotionally distressed young lady on the platform and started to carefully talk to her.  From previous training both Luke & Dean were aware that asking simple questions such as “Hi I’m Dean, what’s your name?” can temporarily interrupt any suicidal thoughts that a person may be having at that time.  Indeed according to the Samaritans 69% of people recognise that a simple question can be enough to break the flow of any negative and despairing thoughts.  Over the next 15 minutes both Luke & Dean continued to listen to the unfortunate problems and worries that the young lady was grappling with; whilst behind the scenes they discretely contacted the police & subsequent ambulance service. They then wrapped the young lady in a warm blanket, whilst continuing to talk and listen until the ambulance crew arrived and she was in safe hands.

At MECX we love great deeds such as this and so both Luke & Dean have been nominated as Employee’s of the Month. Both Dean and Luke concurred that “a little conversation may go a long way to saving a life, and that this is a valuable & intrinsic part of our job.”

Rail Supplier Carillion Under Investigation by FCA

Deborah Lillis

According to Rail Technology Magazine – Carillion is currently under investigation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. The independent financial watchdog is looking into the “timeliness and content” of announcements made by Carillion in a period between 7 December 2016 and 10 July 2017. A spokes person for Carillion said that it was “cooperating fully with the FCA” on the investigation.

The construction giant was involved in a variety of deals with Network Rail, and recently won two major contracts worth £300m, which involved track maintenance and electrification.

It is also ranked as the infrastructure owner’s second biggest supplier in its 2016/17 suppliers list receiving more than 5% of Network Rail’s total expenditure.

Today’s news comes after a difficult year for Carillion, with its former chief executive stepping down in July and future CEO Andrew Davies set to take over on 22 January.

In November 2017, Carillion issued its third profit warning in five months and its shares crashed 60% when the stock market opened – their lowest-ever levels. It has been reported that the struggling firm also has debts of £1.6bn.

In July last year, its shares plunged 39% as bosses warned that annual results would be “below management’s previous expectations” and wrote off £845m.

Early in the year, in April, the firm was mired in controversy when the RMT union vowed to fight against job cuts that were warned as a result of Network Rail shrunken renewals portfolio.

Despite the financial controversies, Carillion remains a major player in the rail industry. It is set to be involved in two of the JVs which won slices of the £6.6bn HS2 construction contracts awarded in July last year as well as to deliver a major part of the Midland Main Line improvement programme.

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