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Alstom gains permission for new academy at Widnes

Alstom has gained planning permission from Halton Borough Council to acquire 30 acres of land at Widnes for a new North West Transport Training Academy.

Ground-breaking will take place before the summer and the €25m site will open in autumn next year, where it will provide training for the existing workforce, apprentices and new graduates in engineering, manufacturing and project management, as well as being used for research, development and maintenance.

The site offers access to the West Coast Main Line, as well as Liverpool, Manchester, Chester and Preston and ports, railheads, motorways and airports across the north west region.

Andreas Knitter, Alstom’s senior vice president for Europe, said: “This new centre is part of our global strategy to grow our service activities by localising our operations close to our customers. It allows us to react much more quickly to growth in local markets.

“The UK is one of the most exciting places in the world for train companies like Alstom to do business, so it’s important that we run the most efficient operation possible through modern facilities with the latest technology.”

Alstom said the site will offer a co-location for its suppliers and will be built to minimise the impact on local residents and maximise the use of low greenhouse gas emission power sources.

The latest edition of RTM features an article on Alstom’s new TrainScanner, which can detect maintenance faults in its Virgin Pendolino rolling stock automatically.

Henrik Anderberg said a programme of investment in Widnes would be a top priority after he was appointed acting manager director of Alstom last month.

The new comes at a time of growth for UK rail training, as construction on the two sites of the National College for High Speed Rail began last week.

(Image c. Alstom)

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