Rail future in York assured

Important plans which cement York’s future as a railway city have been given the go ahead by the city council.

Network Rail will develop a new rail operating centre and workforce development centre on land close to York station.

Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail’s London North Eastern (LNE) route, said: “This decision is great news for York and the railway. These operating and training facilities will allow us to deliver a modern, efficient railway while at the same time maintaining York’s position as a proud rail city. The centres will retain jobs in the city and, over time, see all of our rail operations for the LNE route consolidated on this site.

“The operating centre is the largest of just 14 proposed centres across Britain and will bring the expertise and technology we need to operate the route into a single location. Meanwhile the investment in modern training facilities will make sure our rail employees remain among the best in the world.

“As well as bringing future employment benefits which are vital for economic growth and prosperity in York we hope that the location of these new facilities on the edge of the York Central development site could act as a catalyst for further investment in the area.”

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Cllr James Alexander, Labour leader of City of York Council, said: “This is the second significant planning application to be approved by the council in a matter of weeks, and is another big step forward for York.

“The city has a strong railway heritage and the new Rail Operating Centre is going to help secure existing jobs and expertise in our city, as well as generating opportunities for further growth. I’ve supported these plans from the start, which further underlines Network Rail’s continuing commitment to York and we’re looking forward working closely with Network Rail to support their work in the city.”

The intention is that the rail operating centre (ROC) will eventually control all rail operations on the east coast. The workforce development centre will consolidate training services already provided to rail employees at a number of locations around the route into a single, purpose-built facility. Around 500 jobs will be spread over the two facilities when fully operational.