New rail depot for Suffolk/Essex border

A multi-million pound new rail maintenance workshop is set to be built near Manningtree as part of the new Abellio franchise to run trains in the region for the next nine years.

The new site will maintain the fleet of more than 1,000 new train units that is being introduced on the network between 2019 and 2020.

It will operate alongside the three existing Abellio maintenance workshops at Clacton, Crown Point in Norwich and at Ilford in east London.

At present the company employs 400 people in its workshops, and the new centre is likely to create more than 100 jobs.

Abellio has also pledged to take on 20 new trainees a year – with at least 30 new apprenticeships by 2019.

The exact site of the new workshops has not been revealed, but it will have to be beside the railway track and on industrial land.

A spokesman for Abellio said it was “in the vicinity of Manningtree” prompting speculation that it could be built on part of the former ICI site at Brantham – there are few other sites in the area because of the way the line is engineered and because the station itself is on the edge of Dedham Vale.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, whose constituency includes Brantham, said he would welcome a new rail workshop for the jobs it would bring to the area.

“If it is built at that site in Brantham it would be even better because that site needs regeneration and this would be a great boost to getting that completed.”

The site is owned by developers who are still talking to Babergh council planners about securing all the conditions to allow it to be redeveloped for mainly industrial but with some residential use on the other side of the site.

The developers were not able to comment on the future of the site.

Maintenance workshops clean and service train units every night and ensure they are ready for use the following morning.

Staff also carry out weekly and monthly maintenance in a bid to ensure the trains operate with a hitch.


Published by the East Anglian Daily Times