The new operating centre is one of three major projects either underway or planned for Three Bridges, which combined are expected to bring over 900 jobs to the area. The other schemes are the construction of a railway maintenance depot for the new Thameslink trains, which is due to begin in early 2012, and a series of improvements to the station and subway which are currently being carried out by Network Rail and Southern to provide better journeys and facilities for thousands of passengers.
The rail operating centre at Three Bridges will become one of 14 planned across Britain over the coming years designed to replace more than 800 signal boxes and other operational locations currently used to control trains across the network. The new centres will have more advanced signalling tools and technology that will help reduce delays, improve performance, increase capacity, provide better information to passengers and offer better value for money for the British people. It is anticipated that up to 600 roles could move to Three Bridges over the next 10 – 15 years.
Henry Smith MP said: “Three Bridges is a significant transport interchange hub that serves local commuters and business alike. I’m delighted at Network Rail’s commitment to invest in upgrading this important Crawley gateway.”
Mark Ruddy, Network Rail’s route managing director for Sussex, said: “The new operating centre and train depot will make Three Bridges one of the most important places on the railway in the south east. As well as helping creating a better railway, the 900 plus jobs potentially being created in the area will also give a vital boost for local shops and amenities.
“The plans are also great news for passengers in Three Bridges who will get a better station and other improvements along the Brighton main line. Thameslink will deliver longer, more modern trains, more seats and a wider choice of journey options and the operations centre will help us run a more punctual and reliable service.
“We thank passengers and the community in advance for their patience whilst we deliver this work.”
Major construction of the rail operating centre, which is being carried on behalf of Network Rail by C Spencer Ltd, is expected to be completed by early 2013.
Brett Jarman, project director, for Spencer added: “Spencer is delighted to be part of the delivery team, constructing the first of the next generation in operating centres at Three Bridges. We hope to build upon the successes of similar schemes we delivered in Derby, Glasgow and Thames Valley - upholding Network Rail’s safety culture and refining the programme successes which have proved to be the winning formula.”
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