Rail Minister, Rt Hon Simon Burns MP, today saw the old and the new working in harmony at rail sites in York.
Network Rail has begun construction on a new Rail Operating Centre (ROC) and Workforce Development Centre (WDC) on the site of the old engineers triangle next to York station. These facilities will retain skilled rail jobs in York and allow Network Rail to deliver a modern, efficient railway for many years to come. They are a central part of the Strategic Business plan, launched last week.
Having seen the new buildings in progress the Minister officially opened the turntable which has replaced the engineer’s triangle, ably assisted by star loco ‘Olton Hall’ – also known to Harry Potter fans as ‘Hogwarts Castle’.
Rail Minister Simon Burns said: “The city of York has always had a proud railway heritage and I am pleased to see this latest success story taking shape.
“These facilities will not only help drive efficiencies and improve performance for passengers and freight on this vital route for many years to come – they will also provide valuable jobs and guarantee a skilled workforce is in place to meet the challenges of running a 21st century railway system.
“This Government is committed to modernising the railways and this regeneration scheme provides another example of us making good on our promises through our partnership with Network Rail.”
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “We were happy to welcome the Minister to York and to see the work beginning on what will be one of our most important sites. These operating and training facilities will allow us to deliver a modern, efficient railway while at the same time maintaining York’s position as an important rail city. The centres will retain jobs in the city and, over time, see all of our rail operations for the London North Eastern route consolidated in one place.
“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 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.”
The turntable began life in service at Cleethorpes before being relocated to Ferme Park in the 1970s. It has been brought to York to provide turning facilities for charter services, rail plant and the National Rail Museum.