Tuesday 24 Jun 2008


Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland

Network Rail’s £4m Larbert Training Centre was officially opened yesterday (Tuesday, June 24) by Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for education and skills.

Ms Hyslop was joined by Steve Featherstone, Network Rail director, infrastructure maintenance, and Richard Lungmuss, the company’s maintenance director for Scotland, to launch the purpose-built facility.

The new training centre provides Network Rail’s Scottish frontline engineering and maintenance staff with a dedicated base to learn new techniques and update existing skills.

The centre can train up to 100 workers at a time and its facilities include an indoor, full-size 60m replica track layout with signals, as well as a 150m outdoor track, classrooms and dedicated teaching staff.

Built on former railway sidings in a suburb of Falkirk, the centre can be easily reached by the 1,800 Network Rail people who maintain Scotland’s 2,580 miles of track and related infrastructure.

Following a short opening ceremony, Ms Hyslop toured the facility meeting staff and trainers before trying her hand as a railway engineer working on the replica track layouts.

Ms Hyslop said: “The rail network is and always has been important to Scotland and Larbert is a key hub of that network, connecting people in their journeys across the central belt or from the Highlands to the Borders. That’s why I am delighted to be able to open this new training centre.

“It will help develop the skills of staff providing this vital service, ensuring that they are able to develop to their full potential and are also able to continue to safeguard and improve our rail network for the people of Scotland and its economy.

“This is very much in line with the aims of our skills strategy which encourages employers to work with government and training providers to equip staff with the education and skills they need so that they can lead more fulfilling lives and contribute to our efforts to deliver sustainable economic growth for all.”

Only the second centre of its kind in the UK, the creation of the Larbert Training Centre is part of Network Rail’s ongoing commitment to ensuring it can maintain the highly-skilled workforce needed to deliver an efficient service for train operators and passengers.

Steve Featherstone added: “We are making a major investment in our people in Scotland and in their skills through opening our own dedicated training centre. We are ambitious for our employees and for the railway in Scotland, which is enjoying a period of sustained growth and high performance.

“Network Rail invests heavily to ensure that we have a highly-skilled and qualified workforce ready to meet the needs of the railway’s future and every frontline employee receives around 10 days training each year to help achieve that.”


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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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