UK’s Network Rail has planned to build a new train depot in Wigan as part of the Great North Rail Project.

To be located at the Springs Branch railway sidings in Ince-in-Makerfield, the new £46m depot will be developed by adapting an existing freight yard.

The depot will be equipped to maintain 24 electric and eight diesel trains and create nearly 20 jobs in the process.

“We will need state-of-the-art facilities to look after these trains and Springs Branch is a key part of this.”

Network Rail scheme project manager Lauren Jones 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 brand new depot, which 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.”

The Wigan depot will also provide easy access to the electrified rail network and offer flexibility to the rail operating company Northern to move their trains overnight and prepare for services in the next day.

Northern engineering director Ben Ackroyd 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.”

Preparation works to build the depot have already started and it is scheduled to be completed in December next year.