UK infrastructure manager Network Rail has transformed the old Newport depot in South Wales into a training centre.

This move is expected to increase the available skilled railway signallers in Wales and the west amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The conversion works were completed in four weeks.

Rail services are essential to transport vital food and medical supplies to different parts of the UK, as well as essential workers such as doctors and nurses to their workplace.

Railway Signallers aid in ensuring that the trains are operational and these jobs need specialist training to carry out the work safely and efficiently.

Last month, Network Rail appealed to its former signallers from the Southern Region, Anglia, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Peterborough, East Midlands, North East and Yorkshire to return.

More than 200 signallers from Wales and the west have returned to help the rail operations.

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New recruits and those returning to signalling will be trained at the new Newport signalling training centre.

Network Rail Wales and Western MD Mark Langman said: “It is a remarkable achievement that this fully functioning training suite for signallers has been completed in less than a month.

“Under normal circumstances, we have enough signallers to keep trains running whatever happens, but these are not normal circumstances and without fully trained signallers, it is possible that parts of the network would have to shut.

“I am delighted with the response from former signallers who are willing to return to the railway. Putting the right training and facilities in place means that we can get them back up to speed to help us keep moving essential freight goods, and passengers whose journeys are essential.”