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Northern opens £23m Blackburn depot as part of Great North Rail Project

Northern and Network Rail have spent £23m on a new train maintenance depot in Blackburn, opened by rail minister Paul Maynard last week.

The facility has been built with a range of modern equipment and will be used to maintain as many as 30 diesel trains.

In addition to the new King Street Depot, Northern will also open a new operations building opposite Blackburn station. The two facilities are part of NR’s Great North Rail Project, which is expected to invest more than £1bn in improvements by 2022.

“I’m delighted to officially open this state-of-the-art depot for Northern,” commented rail minister Paul Maynard. “It’s a big step in the transformation of rail services under the Great North Rail Project.

“It’s also demonstrates what can be achieved when government, train operators and infrastructure managers work together to put passengers at the heart of everything we do.”

Blackburn Depot 1 (good)
Depot opening: David Brown, Lauren Jones, Ross Beard, Paul Maynard, Liam Sumpter and Andy Morgan (left to right)

The depot is expected to create jobs for over 100 employees as well as providing a catalyst for local station improvements and more rail services with new or ‘as new’ trains.

Liam Sumpter, regional director at Northern said: “The new depot has been constructed to the highest specification and features a six-track train stabling and maintenance building, as well as train washing and fuelling equipment.

“The Blackburn site will house trains that will be re-routed following the electrification of the Blackpool to Preston line and, as such, is a vital part of the modernisation of rail in the north of England.”

NR senior sponsor, Andy Morgan, added: “By 2022 the Great North Rail Project will have delivered more than £1bn of improvements for customers across the north of England. By increasing capacity by 40 per cent, passengers will see more journeys on better, faster trains.

“As we unlock capacity across the north as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, Northern and TransPennine Express are upgrading trains and building new ones for customers.

“We need to ensure there are facilities for these to be cleaned and maintained each night for the benefit of the thousands of customers who travel on them each day.”

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Andrew Gwilt   30/10/2017 at 19:50

That includes the Class 195 CAF Civity DMU's that will also use the new depot. As the depot is to be used for the DMU rolling stocks that Northern will still use despite new trains being ordered. Or will there be another depot that will be used for new and existing EMU rolling stocks along with new overhead wires aswell the Class 331's that Northern have ordered.

J, Leicester   31/10/2017 at 09:46

As I'm feeling nice today... Yes, the Blackburn depot has been built to house DMUs displaced by electrification from what I can tell, Andrew. Depots along electrified routes will be "wired" to house the incoming units. But yes, the 195s may make an appearance, depending on which routes they're allocated to. (I eagerly await seeing whether I should have said that last part.)

Fenderchap   31/10/2017 at 17:10

Great to see this infrastructure regenerated. The old coal/oil depot which it stands closed decades ago and it's been neglected since.

Andrew JG   02/11/2017 at 11:00

At least the North of England are getting more and more extra trains to cover the whole of the Northwest and Northeast of England. And to replace the Pacers.

Graham B   29/11/2017 at 09:17

Great to see investment like this. I went to the school opposite in the 1980s and used to see the class 04 at the coal concentration depot every day. I would never have imagined such a resurgence in railway activity around Blackburn. Brilliant stuff!

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