Network Rail (NR) has opened the new train maintenance depot in Allerton, UK, after a £23m upgrade to service the fleet of electric trains in Liverpool.
Located near to the Liverpool South Parkway, the revamped facility will handle a new fleet of electric trains as part of the electrification of Northern rail services, including the busy Manchester to Liverpool line.
A fleet of 20 Northern Rail electric trains, which are scheduled to be fully deployed by this December, will provide 6.7 million additional seats a year on routes between Liverpool, Manchester, Wigan, Preston, and Warrington.
Network Rail acquired the train maintenance depot in 2011, revamping it for the service of its fleet of diesel trains.
Under its North West Electrification Programme, NR committed to a further package of improvements at Allerton, re-electrifying the depot after it was de-electrified in 2009, to accommodate electric trains.
UK Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: "Our investment in infrastructure is transforming the railways in the north, giving passengers better journeys and helping to build the Northern Powerhouse.
"The re-electrified depot at Allerton will help us to deliver more electric trains on the Northern Rail network, expanding the fleet in the north west, and crucially, provide additional seats and capacity for customers."
Upgrade work on the depot started in 2014, and the improvements have been delivered in three phases, with phases 1 and 2 now complete.
Further improvements under phase 3 are also underway for the facility to service up to 100 trains.
Work will include modifications to the Hunts Cross end of the depot, with scheduled completion by the end of the year.
Network Rail route managing director Martin Frobisher said: "The electrification of Allerton depot is an important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, with Network Rail investing over £1bn to improve rail services across the north.
"By electrifying routes between key towns and cities, passengers will benefit from bigger, better and more environmentally friendly trains. The improvements at Allerton mean these trains can now be housed and maintained to help deliver these benefits."
Under phase 1 and 2, work included electrification and extension of the existing train shed to accommodate the new, longer, electrified trains, including supporting trackworks.
New electrification equipment and depot protection systems were deployed to safeguard staff. The existing maintenance pit was expanded to provide improved access, new walkways and lighting have been built
New sanding equipment was installed to help address track adhesion problems including leaves and ice on the line.
Image: Alex Hynes of Northern Rail and Terry Strickland of Network Rail at the refurbished Allerton depot. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail