Thursday 18 Aug 2011


Region & Route:
| Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern

More than 3,000 people attended an open day at Whitemoor Yard depot in March this Sunday (August 14) to find out more about its new recycling centre, which has put the Cambridgeshire town at the heart of the railway’s green transformation.


The open day was organised to thank local residents for their support during the development and construction of the new recycling centre and to give them a chance to find out more about what goes on at the historic Whitemoor site.


The new recycling centre will help save thousands of tonnes of materials going to landfill every year, remove thousands of lorry journeys from the roads and help cut the cost of Britain’s railways.

Once it is fully operational, the centre is expected to deliver £7m of savings to Network Rail each year.

It will also help Network Rail achieve its goal to reuse, recycle or recover 95% of construction and maintenance waste by 2014.


Face painting, kids’ rides, community stalls, model railways and a locomotive naming ceremony, conducted by the Mayor of March, councillor Bernard Keane, was among the entertainment on offer for families who attended the open day.


A further event was held on Monday (August 15) where the official ribbon cutting ceremony took place. This event was attended by a number of officials including councillor John Powley, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council.


Peter Henderson, director of asset management at Network Rail, who officially opened the new recycling centre along with councillor John Powley, said: “The open day was fantastic and the support we have had from the local community has been superb.


“The new recycling centre is at the heart of our efforts to make the railway greener, cleaner and more sustainable and will help us to continue to deliver value for money.


“It is vital in maintaining and improving the railway throughout Cambridgeshire.”


Principal contractor for the project was multi-disciplinary company, Spencer.


Raj Sinha, managing director of rail for the company, said: “We are delighted and very proud to have been core to a project which will stand as a beacon for sustainability. Whitemoor has raised the benchmark in how the design, construction and delivery of projects can cater for the environment and the sustainability agenda.”


Network Rail’s National Track Materials Recycling Centre at Whitemoor Yard opened for business in June, bringing 25 new jobs to the area.


The opening of the new recycling centre marks the second phase in the redevelopment of Whitemoor Yard depot, which reopened in 2004 after a £20m investment programme by Network Rail which created 40 new jobs for the town.



Notes to Editors


History of Whitemoor Yard
Opened in 1929, Whitemoor served as a marshalling yard for the old London North Eastern Railway. It grew over time and at the end of the 1930s it was among the biggest and busiest in

Europe. Whitemoor was so important during the Second World War that a decoy yard was established four miles away. Lights were set up in a field in the same pattern as those at the yard and left on during the blackouts to confuse bombers, while those at the real yard were switched off. However, from the 1960s the original yard started to decline as the railway changed. In the early 1990s it was forced to close and became derelict. Half the original site is now where Whitemoor Prison sits.

Phase 1
Whitemoor’s decline was reversed in 2004, when the new yard opened after a £20m investment programme. The new yard comprises a strategic supply facility including temporary aggregate storage, spent ballast recycling and around 20km of associated sidings. It is vital in maintaining and improving the railway throughout Cambridgeshire, East Anglia and as far south as


London, where it has played a crucial role in supporting the 2012 Olympic Games investment. The reopening of the yard created over 40 new jobs. The development has also brought £2m of other benefits, including a new cycle path and a link road to reduce lorry trips through residential areas, as well as a multi-million pound signalling project which has improved the reliability of passenger and freight trains in the area.

Phase 2 – National Track Materials Recycling Centre
In April 2008, Network Rail applied for planning permission for a national track materials recycling centre adjacent to Phase 1. The new facility would comprise: used track material processing; sleeper storage and crushing; S&C processing; ballast washing and decontamination; ballast processing and storage; and wagon maintenance. Mindful of the history and sensitive ecology of the Whitemoor site, Network Rail pledged to continue the work begun in 2004 to protect and promote environmental diversity in and around the site.

An additional new drainage pond has been created, which is home to great crested newts relocated from the site prior to construction and will help protect the local area from flooding. Historians and archaeologists spent a number of months photographing and cataloguing the many sites of archaeological interest on the site, including the

Fen Causeway Roman Road

, pre-WWI artefacts, WWII air-raid shelters and many items dating back to the sites’ original use as marshalling yard. Following a public exhibition which saw four-out-of-five local residents respond in favour of the development – citing the boost to the local economy, the 25 new jobs and the environmental benefits – Cambridgeshire County Council approved the scheme in December 2008.


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