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A depot for Derby A

new maintenance centre is being planned in Derby at Pride Park to support the

electrifi cation of the Midland Main Line. The project brings together six smaller depots around the area, to better plan and resource maintenance operations.

Network Rail has submitted plans to Derby City Council for the new centre.

RTM spoke to Martin Frobisher, East Midlands route managing director, about the new centre, the new practices that would be introduced, and the impact of electrifi cation on the route.

The modern facility includes an increase in offi ce space and will provide a central workplace for up to 400 maintenance staff. Frobisher told RTM: “All the little depots in and around Derby will be consolidated into one modern facility and the people will be based there in the future – it’s great.

“As a project it’s got a great business case because it’s a much more effi cient way of working. It allows us to be much more fl exible in terms of the way we deploy our people. Having everybody in one modern open-plan offi ce improves communication.

“Having one stores facility means we don’t have the same amount of working capital. At the moment we’ve got same components in six little stores; having one big facility is much more effi cient.”

Electrifi cation

The plans for the depot were recently resubmitted to account for the High Level

Output Statement (HLOS), which announced the electrifi cation of the Midland Main Line.

The updated plans cover the need to create a team to maintain the new assets as Frobisher explained: “It just seemed absolutely crazy for us that we’d build a modern facility and then end up putting some portable cabins up to house the overhead line maintenance team.”

The team will be joined by around 50 new electrifi cation maintenance specialists, and short-term job opportunities will be available during the building phase of the depot.

In terms of integrating the new team together, Frobisher acknowledged that this would take signifi cant consultation, and working carefully with individuals to ensure everything goes smoothly.

He said: “In practice it means moving people out of leaky old portable cabin facilities into a modern state-of-the-art building with good transport connections.”

The move is something that could be replicated across the network, following on best practice from other such consolidations as in the West Midlands and in Gateshead. Frobisher explained that the plans for electrifi cation would mean considerable changes to maintenance procedures.

“As we electrify the line then that means a change from diesel rolling stock to electric rolling stock and therefore on the train operator side there will be some signifi cant changes in terms of maintenance regimes because the rolling stock has changed.

Big changes

He continued: “From our point of view there will be some big changes. If you look at today’s railway on the East Midlands, it’s a diesel railway. The power signal boxes were all built in the 1960s and 1970s. All the interlocking is done through old 1960s electrical relays. Over the course of the next seven years we’re going to modernise that and it’ll all be computer-based system based in the East Midlands Control Centre in Derby.”

Electrifi cation will require new skills to be developed and could offer opportunities through greater passenger demand.

Frobisher said: “We’re growing at 5% per annum on passenger 10% on freight. There’s load of growth, loads of opportunity, with some new skills to learn but we’re up for it.

“We’ve got lots of training to do. We’ve already started. We’ve recognised that we need to get some overhead line electric skills and this year we’re taking on more overhead line apprentices than we ever have in the past because in seven year’s time the people who are apprentices today, will be fully trained and great members of the team.”

Martin Frobisher


rail technology magazine Dec/Jan 13 | 55

Network Rail’s East Midlands route managing director Martin Frobisher explains the work behind a new rail maintenance depot planned at Derby.

“There are already some good facilities such as at Etches Park at Derby and I’m sure the train operators will be able to adapt to that change and make the changes that are necessary.”

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