A light maintenance depot in Barrow-in-Furness has seen important upgrades by Northern as part of the company’s work under the Manchester Recovery Task Force.
A new train-fuelling and servicing facility was installed at the depot, enabling it to handle up to three carriages at once and thus tripling the previous capacity and enabling the use of six-car Class 195 trains between Manchester Airport and Cumbria.
Regional Director Chris Jackson said: “The new facilities have meant that trains are able to be serviced faster, keeping them out in-service for our customers – improving reliability for the region and beyond.
“Of the 3,000 new services a week introduced in our December 2022 timetable, 2,000 were in the North West. With this uplift, there was a need for a facility equal to that growth.”
In addition to the extended platform and servicing capabilities at the Barrow-in-Furness depot, a steel canopy to provide shelter for staff and equipment has also been built alongside improvements to fuel pumps and the installation of energy-efficient lighting.
Work on the depot was carried out with RTS Infrastructure Services. Managing Director Chris Reid said: “I would like to personally thank the depot team for their support and proactive attitude that was fundamental in delivering the depot enhancements in a safe and timely manner. A masterclass in teamwork and flexibility.”
The Manchester Recovery Task Force was put together in January 2020 to address concerns about poor performance in the rail network in and around Manchester, it saw a number of proposals made to improve the situation including a new timetable.
Northern’s use of the six-car trains on the Cumbria to Manchester Airport route subsequently doubles the on-board capacity and “provides more reliable services” for customers according to the company itself.
Similar work to improve Beckton Depot in preparation for the launch of new Docklands Light Railway trains recently moved forward with the selection by Transport for London for Morgan Sindall Infrastructure to carry out the work expanding maintenance facilities and installing new assembly equipment.