Published on: Monday, 23 April 2018
Last updated: Monday, 23 April 2018
Work has begun to prepare Greater Anglia’s Norwich-based Crown Point Depot for the new fleet of trains that will serve the region from 2019, including sending engineers to Switzerland to learn how to look after them.
Greater Anglia is investing over £40 million in the project which will see the depot, which opened in 1982, transformed to accommodate the longer trains.
The large scale expansion ushers in a new era for East Anglia’s railways, with better facilities to house and maintain the 58 new trains being built by Stadler, as well as a new train washing facility, improved servicing equipment and the ability to store and dispense more fuel.
Special high walkways will be installed to give engineers access for maintenance and repairs - as most of the new trains’ components are on the roof – due to their lowered floors which make them more accessible to passengers.
New jacks will be installed to enable engineers to lift a complete train without having to split the carriages for bogie and underframe equipment removal, and new equipment transfer turntables and support offices will also be added.
In addition, the depot will gain upgraded toilet maintenance facilities, as all the new trains will have large tanks to collect waste, rather than emptying it onto the tracks.
Stadler will be responsible for maintaining their brand new regional bi-mode, Airport Express and InterCity trains at the depot, working closely with Greater Anglia to ensure that the new trains are in top condition to provide rail passengers in East Anglia with punctual and reliable services.
The landmark project means that train maintenance expertise and the jobs involved in looking after the state-of-the-art new trains stay in Norwich and continue the city’s long-standing crucial role in the delivery of the region’s train service.
That presence is valuable to the local and regional economy, with benefits for Norwich and Norfolk both from having employees based at the depot and from the linked supply chain.
Around 70 Greater Anglia staff will transfer to Stadler, 12 of whom will be seconded as Systems Technicians and will each spend six months with Stadler in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland and/ or Spain learning how to look after the new train systems.
Mike Kean, Greater Anglia’s Franchise & Programmes Director, said: “The investment in Crown Point depot is great news for Norwich and Norfolk. We’re committed to the region we serve and playing our part in supporting its development, so we’re very pleased to be able to create a new centre of excellence for train maintenance in East Anglia, in partnership with Stadler.
“The coming months will be an exciting and busy period as we implement the major project to prepare the depot for the new trains. At the same time, the team continue to work hard maintaining and repairing our existing trains to ensure that customers still receive a reliable and punctual service while Stadler are building our brand-new train fleet.”
To provide additional space and reduce pressure on Crown Point depot while the work is being carried out, Greater Anglia has leased an additional depot at Colchester from Balfour Beatty.
Hein van der Schoot, Managing Director of Stadler Rail Service UK, commented: "The major upgrade of the current facility, ahead of the introduction of the new fleet, will mean that the Stadler trains are serviced and maintained at the highest level to ensure optimum performance. The construction work represents a critical milestone within the project, and we look forward to continued close working with Greater Anglia throughout this vital stage in the process and beyond."
The work will be carried out by Taylor Woodrow, the civil engineering division of VINCI Construction UK.
Options for other additional maintenance facilities – originally planned to be at Brantham - are still being considered.