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Manchester ROC officially opened

Manchester’s new state-of-the-art rail operating centre (ROC) has officially been opened by Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council.

The ROC, near Ashburys station in Manchester, is one of 12 which will eventually manage the entire rail network across Britain, replacing more than 800 signal boxes and other operational locations currently used to control trains.

The line between Huyton and Roby, near Liverpool, is the first section of railway being controlled from the Manchester ROC following the recent resignalling and upgrade work on the line. The next sections of railway to be controlled from the ROC will be parts of central and north Manchester in 2015.

It will take 15-20 years to transfer everything into the ROC, but there are plans to transfer control of the routes out to Sheffield through the Hope Valley during CP5 too.

There are potential plans to trial traffic management on one of the Manchester workstations, perhaps in the next 18 months.

All 12 centres will have more advanced signalling tools and technology that will help reduce delays, improve performance, increase capacity, and offer better value for money for passengers and taxpayers.

Joined by representatives from Network Rail, TransPennine Express and Northern Rail, Sir Richard said: “This new centre will be an important part of a major overhaul of the north west's rail network, vastly improving the service and making it easier for tens of thousands of people to access jobs in and around Manchester using public transport.”

Later this year the ROC will be home to Network Rail, TransPennine Express and Northern Rail control staff.

Jim Syddall, Network Rail’s acting route managing director for the north west region, said: “This new rail operating centre means that Manchester will be one of the most important places on the railway map in the north west.

“When fully operational, it will help to boost performance, increase capacity and provide a better level of service to passengers across the north west and help the railway recover more efficiently during periods of disruption.

Over the next 20 years all of the railway in the north west of England will be controlled from the ROC, bordered by Crewe to the south, Todmorden in the east, Carlisle in the north and the Welsh border to the west. When fully operational, up to 400 staff will work from the ROC, operating the railway 24 hours a day.

Currently, it houses about 40 staff in the office, seven signallers and some trainers, plus the management team.

The 18-month construction was by Morgan Sindall.

RTM was at the opening and toured the new facility. Full coverage, including interviews with signallers, trainers, scheme sponsor Andy Scott, programme manager for the transfer Christian Wyatt and others, will be in the August/September 2014 edition of the magazine.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Jb   23/07/2014 at 11:40

If the ROC is disabled by a foreign power, terrorists or other malcontents, how will the railway be operated?

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