£46m train depot to be launched in Wigan as part of regional rail revamp

Site of new rail terminal

A new £46m train depot is being built in Wigan as part of the improvement of rail services in the region.

With the number of passengers set to double in the north over the next 25 years, more depots are needed to enable the more frequent services and additional trains planned by 2020.

Network Rail is adapting an existing freight yard at Springs Branch railway sidings in Ince-in-Makerfield to house and maintain 24 electric and eight diesel trains – creating almost 20 jobs in the process.

The location offers easy access to the electrified rail network and the state-of-the-art depot will provide more flexibility for Northern to move their trains overnight in preparation for services the next day.

The depot will be operational from December 2019.

Lauren Jones, scheme project manager at Network Rail said: “At Springs Branch sidings, we’re investing £46m to enhance an existing site by the West Coast main line by building brand new train maintenance facilities for Northern.

“This new depot that forms part of the Great North Rail Project not only delivers a jobs boost for Greater Manchester, but the facilities it will provide will help transform passenger journeys across the north.”

Ben Ackroyd, engineering director at Northern, said: “The new maintenance depot is a key part of our wider modernisation programme.

“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.”

Becca Heron, director of economy and skills at Wigan Council, said: “This new train depot is a key component of our economic strategy, building on Wigan’s excellent connectivity to establish the borough as a key transport hub for the North of England.

“It will bring growth and jobs to the residents of Ince and the wider borough.”

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.

Preparation work will start on site on and project completion is planned for December 2019.
The new depot is one of four maintenance yards in the north west of England that have been improved or built to cater for the arrival of additional trains.

The others are Blackpool North, Blackburn and Allerton depot in Merseyside.

Since 2013, Network Rail has upgraded the railway between Manchester and Liverpool, cutting their fastest journey time between the two Northern Powerhouse cities by 15 minutes.

The work to upgrade the Preston to Blackpool North line is almost complete, with the improvement work between Manchester and Preston via Bolton set to be finished before the end of the year.

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