A new concrete railway sleeper manufacturing facility has been opened in Doncaster to supply around 400,000 concrete sleepers per year for Network Rail.

The facility, which will employ about 45 people, is jointly owned by Trackwork, a concrete railway sleeper factory in Doncaster, and Germany-based Leonhard Moll Betonwerke. It will produce concrete sleepers for laying on all the busier inter-urban and long distance rail routes apart from those carrying heavy freight loads.

UK Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "Thanks to the ongoing investment by Network Rail in our national railway infrastructure companies like the Trackwork Moll are keeping our trains moving, delivering massive benefits for passengers and the economy thanks to faster, more frequent and reliable services."

"Yorkshire has a proud and well-deserved rail heritage."

Network Rail London North Eastern and East Midlands route managing director Phil Verster said: "We are investing in our railway at a rate not seen since the Victorian era. This is resulting in significant improvements for passengers and allowing us to carry huge amounts of essential freight, keeping lorries off the road.

"Yorkshire has a proud and well-deserved rail heritage so it is exciting to see this factory using that expertise to support the railway of the future," Verster added.

Trackwork Moll, which managed the design and build of the facility, has secured contract to supply sleepers to Network Rail for the next 10 years.

J F Finnegan was the design and build contractor, while Race Cottam Associates were project architects and the Doncaster office of Hannah Reed were the consulting civil engineers.

It is estimated that Network Rail needs between 700,000 and 1,000,000 sleepers per year for usage on all the busier inter-urban and long-distance rail routes as well as those carrying heavy freight tonnages.

Image: McLoughlin at the official opening of the facility. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.