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August 2, 2019

Network Rail submits plan to build railway sleeper facility in Bescot

UK’s Network Rail has submitted a planning application to build a railway sleeper facility in Bescot sidings, Sandwell.

UK’s Network Rail has submitted a planning application to build a railway sleeper facility in Bescot sidings, Sandwell.

The rail infrastructure manager submitted the application following extensive consultations with local people and politicians.

Sandwell Borough Council and its planning committee will review the plan. The decision is expected by November.

The final plan involves building the facility approximately 600m from the originally proposed site. The location is further away from local properties and will enable Network Rail to build a new link road to improve access and mitigate possible traffic congestion.

The Bescot site, selected by Network Rail in April 2017, will deliver up to 600,000 railway sleepers annually, accounting for nearly 60% of the country’s yearly requirement.

Currently, the UK has two sites at Doncaster and Washwood Heath in Birmingham, which manufacture railway sleepers.

The new railway sleeper site will replace the Washwood Heath location, which will be demolished as part of the HS2 project.

During construction, the Bescot site is estimated to create 150 construction jobs and up to 100 permanent jobs once operational.

Network Rail programme director Anthony Marley said: “We have met with, listened to and taken on board the feedback we have received from local people regarding our plans. They have helped shape the application we have made.

“This new facility will bring millions of pounds to the local economy and support hundreds of jobs in the West Midlands.

“We have already seen significant interest in these jobs, with approximately half of respondents welcoming these new employment prospects. We will continue to work with Sandwell council as our application progresses.”

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