Tuesday 7 Oct 2008



More train services on the west coast main line and the prospect of longer trains in the near future has prompted Network Rail to invest £15m in brand new facilities at the Traincare Centre in Edge Hill.

Work has started on building a new shed on redundant sidings within the depot that Alstom uses to maintain Virgin’s fleet of Pendolino trains.

The shed will have state of the art technology including a ‘rail removal’ system that will enable train wheelsets to be swapped out and the major underside mounted equipment to be removed and refitted, overhead cranes and a high-level platform allowing roof access for maintenance staff. It will also be electrified.

Peter Strachan, route director for Network Rail, said: “The £15m we are spending on Edge Hill is just part of an overall package to upgrade five Alstom Traincare Centres which provide a full service provision for Virgin’s Pendolino trains on the west coast route.

“The start of the Virgin High Frequency or VHF timetable in December means that this depot will handle seven Pendolino trains each night compared with the five it currently looks after. In addition to this, the new shed will be long enough to take the 11-carriage Pendolino trains in the future. The investment in the depot supports the wider regeneration of the area under the Edge Lane scheme.”

From the start of the new timetable on 14 December, the 52 Class 390 Pendolino trains will be more heavily used to provide extra services on the west coast route. This means there is an even greater dependency on efficient servicing and maintenance of the fleet, with Virgin Trains needing 47 of their 52 trains to be available every weekday, rather than the 46 required today.

Terry Sherliker, Alstom Traincare Centre manager for Liverpool and Manchester said: “We have been preparing for the VHF timetable for almost two years, improving our processes and training our people.

“There are currently 23 maintenance staff at Edge Hill; the ramping up of services will ensure continuing employment and the new scope of facilities will enable the depot to take on new work and potentially grow the workforce.”

Virgin Trains Chief Operating Officer Chris Gibb said: “Edge Hill will play a key role in Alstom delivering 47 Pendolino trains to Virgin Trains every day, significantly reducing the time that our Pendolino trains are out of service undergoing maintenance.”

Edge Hill will also play a pivotal role in Alstom’s programme to integrate the four new 11-carriage Pendolino trains and the additional Pendolino vehicles when 31 of the trains are extended to 11-carriages from their current nine-carriage formation.

The first of the new trains will arrive by end of 2010 and all new vehicles will be integrated and in service by 2012.

Notes to editors

Additional media contacts Helen Connolly, Alstom Transport - 01788 545602 / 07801776884 Steven Knight, Virgin Trains – 07771 828181 / 0845 000 3333

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