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Work starts on new signalling and training centre in Basingstoke

Work has started on a new state-of-the-art signalling and training centre which will control large areas of railway in London and the south west.
 

Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, deputy leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council; Sam McCarthy, commercial director for the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance; and Maria Miller MP for Basingstoke, start work on the new Basingstoke centre

Construction of the new Basingstoke Rail Operating and Training Centre was officially started Friday 27 September by Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke.

The centre is one of 12 being built by Network Rail across the country as part of a new way to signal trains. They will eventually replace more than 800 signal boxes and other operational locations currently in use around the network.

It will use advanced technology to control trains that will help to reduce delays, improve performance, boost capacity and provide better information to passengers travelling between London Waterloo and the south coast on one of the busiest routes in the country.

The Basingstoke ROC will also be an important part of the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance, providing training and office space for staff working across the route.

Combining operational services with training and office space will deliver a number of efficiencies in construction, maintenance and operation and provides a central location within the route for staff.

Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke, said: "I very much welcome the significant investment in Basingstoke by Network Rail. It is great to see the start of building of this state-of-the-art signalling and training centre. This development will bring huge benefits for Basingstoke with new jobs for local people, new parking facilities and a footbridge. It will improve train services and help to create extra capacity on the railway. It is also a really important investment in the safety and efficiency of the rail network in the region."

Sam McCarthy, commercial director for the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance, said: "This centre will be a vital part of operating the railway in the south and south west of England and will firmly establish Basingstoke as an important part of the national rail network.

“It will help to provide a better, safer and more reliable railway and deliver significant efficiencies to contribute to making the railway more cost effective.

"It is also a further example of the partnership approach to operating the railway being demonstrated by the Network Rail and South West Train Alliance. The training centre, offices and control centre will be home to many staff from both organisations, all working together to provide a better service to passengers.”

Deputy leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, added: “It is great to see work starting on this important regional facility that demonstrates Basingstoke’s key location on the rail network. This marks an important chapter in the regeneration of our town centre business district, Basing View, showing the growing interest from major companies in locating here.”

When the 12 new centres are fully operational within the next 30 years they are expected to help Network Rail more than £2.5bn over the following 60 years. They are a key part of Network Rail’s commitment to deliver a safe, punctual and cost efficient railway.

The Basingstoke centre will provide over 13,000 square metres of building and around 5,000 square metres of training space for Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance staff. Training facilities will include indoor and outdoor track layouts, a train simulator and educational space to provide learning environments for engineers, signallers, maintenance staff and drivers.

The centre is being built by BAM Construction and is due to be completed by the end of 2014. The first signallers covering the railway along the Dorset coast are due to be working from the building by the end of 2015.

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