(Network Rail Picture)
Allerton Train Maintenance Depot is ready to service Northern Rail’s fleet of Northern Electrics trains after a £23m upgrade by Network Rail.
The fleet of 20 electric trains, which are due to be fully deployed by December 2015, will provide 6.7m additional seats a year to routes between Liverpool, Manchester, Wigan, Preston and Warrington for Northern Rail’s customers.
Located near to Liverpool South Parkway on the busy Manchester to Liverpool line, Network Rail acquired the depot in 2011, transforming it from its near derelict state to a cutting edge maintenance facility, servicing Northern Rail’s fleet of diesel trains.
As part of its North West Electrification Programme, Network Rail, supported by lead contractor Buckingham, then committed to a further package of improvements at Allerton, re-electrifying the depot (after de-electrification in 2009) to accommodate Northern’s electric trains.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Our investment in infrastructure is transforming the railways in the North, giving passengers better journeys and helping to build the Northern Powerhouse.
“The re-electrified depot at Allerton will help us to deliver more electric trains on the Northern Rail network, expanding the fleet in the north west, and crucially, provide additional seats and capacity for customers.”
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “The electrification of Allerton depot is an important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan with Network Rail investing over £1bn to improve rail services across the north.
“By electrifying routes between key towns and cities, passengers will benefit from bigger, better and more environmentally friendly trains. The improvements at Allerton mean these trains can now be housed and maintained to help deliver these benefits.”
Welcoming the re-electrification of Allerton train maintenance depot, Northern Rail’s managing director Alex Hynes said: “Creating a Northern Powerhouse of jobs, investment and prosperity is a key objective of the Government’s long term economic plan. Northern is proud to be playing a key part in bringing this to life; by introducing 20 Northern Electrics trains we are improving connectivity across the North and providing much needed extra capacity on some of the UK’s busiest routes.
“Network Rail’s support through the improvement and extension of Allerton depot is vital. It means that we are not only equipped to maintain the electric trains we already have in service, but we are able to introduce even more in the coming months.”
Work on the depot started in 2014 and the improvements have been delivered in three phases, with phases 1 and 2 now complete and including:
• Electrification and extension of the existing train shed to accommodate the new, longer electrified trains including supporting trackworks
• Installation of new electrification equipment in support of the above
• New depot protection system to safeguard staff
• Modernisation/expansion of the existing maintenance ‘pit’ to provide improved access
• New walkways and lighting
• New sanding equipment to help address track adhesion problems (including leaves and ice on the line)
• Installation of over a mile of new/re-conditioned track
Further improvements (phase 3) are also underway to improve the depot’s capacity, enabling it to stable up to 100 trains. The improvements include modifications to the Hunts Cross end of the depot, with works scheduled for completion by the end of the year.