The new facility of around £1m will be the strategic maintenance hub for the railway between Cwmbran and Ludlow and much of the railway in Heart of Wales. The depot, measuring around 4,000 square feet, is designed with modern facilities and extra room to house a bigger team, which has increased by around 25% since 2010.
This move is integral to Network Rail’s wider devolution strategy in creating regional centres to become even more responsive to its customers and passengers. It also marks the company’s continuous commitment to improve the railway in the area (including Heart of Wales), where around £8m of improvement and maintenance work has been earmarked to be delivered by 2013.
These works include improving the signalling through Hereford station to allow more trains to Worcester, Birmingham and London. Work has also started at Leominster and Hereford stations, where new lifts, footbridges, refurbished canopies and customer facilities are being installed to improve passengers’ travel experience.
Mark Langman, route managing director, Network Rail said: “A modern and well-maintained transport infrastructure is vital to growing vibrant local economies. Rail is well positioned to meet that need and underpin future growth. Hereford, which is at the heart of the Marches railway network, makes the town an ideal location for this maintenance hub.
“By strengthening our presence in Herefordshire, we are demonstrating our commitment and can be more responsive and better placed to explore untapped rail opportunities. This will enable us to safeguard the future of the railways in this area and offer alternative transport solutions to congested roads.”