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Liverpool depot expands to meet growing demand

11/01/2008 AT 09:21

Work has started on building a new maintenance shed on redundant sidings within the depot that Alstom uses to maintain Virgin's fleet of Pendolino trains.

The shed will have state of the art technology including a `rail removal` system that will enable train wheelsets to be swapped out and the major underside mounted equipment to be removed and refitted, overhead cranes, and a high-level platform allowing roof access for maintenance staff. It will also be electrified.

Peter Strachan, route director for Network Rail, said: “The £15m we are spending on Edge Hill is just part of an overall package to upgrade five Alstom Traincare Centres, which provide a full service provision for Virgin's Pendolino trains, on the west coast route.

“The start of the Virgin High Frequency or VHF timetable in December means that this depot will handle seven Pendolino trains each night compared with the five it currently looks after. In addition to this, we are also building it sufficiently long enough to take the 11-carriage Pendolino trains in the future. The investment in the depot supports the wider regeneration of the area under the Edge Lane scheme ”

From the start of the new timetable on 14 December, the 52 Class 390 Pendolino trains will be more heavily used to provide extra services on the west coast route. This means there is an even greater dependency on efficient servicing and maintenance of the fleet, with Virgin Trains needing 47 of their 52 trains to be available every weekday, rather than the 46 required today

Terry Sherliker, Alstom Traincare Centre Manager for Liverpool and Manchester said: “We have been preparing for the VHF timetable for almost two years, improving our processes and training our people in order to be ready for the opening up of the seven day railway, of which Edge Hill is an important part.

“There are currently 23 maintenance staff at Edge Hill; the ramping up of services will ensure continuing employment and the new scope of facilities will enable the depot to take on new work and potentially grow the workforce.”

Virgin Trains Chief Operating Officer Chris Gibb said: “Edge Hill will play a key role in Alstom delivering 47 Pendolino trains to Virgin Trains every day. significantly reducing the time that our Pendolino trains are out of service undergoing maintenance.”

Edge Hill will also play a pivotal role in Alstom`s programme to integrate the four new 11-carriage Pendolino trains and the additional Pendolino vehicles when 31 of the trains are extended to 11-carriages from their current nine carriage formation.

The first of the new trains will arrive by end of 2010 and all new vehicles will be integrated and in service by 2012.

Stoke-on-Trent company to produce china for Virgin

Virgin Trains is using Stoke-on-Trent based company Dudson Ltd to supply its Pendolino trains with china as part of the new First Class catering offer that will be introduced alongside the improved timetable this December.

Eco-friendly uniforms for Virgin Trains staff

All 3,000 Virgin Trains customer facing staff will be sporting a new look since Sunday 14 September following the delivery of a full and flexible uniform range.

Virgin Trains boards the Stagecoach

Virgin Trains has enlisted the help of Stagecoach to enable it to brief its staff on the changes being made as part of the new West Coast timetable in December.

More frequent usages get closer on the West Coast

Work to introduce over a third more services on the west coast main line and significantly cut journey times will be getting a massive boost over the August bank holiday weekend, and the days that follow, as Network Rail continues substantial improvement work along the route.

New customer facilities at Liverpool's station

Rail passengers using Lime Street station will be able to lounge in comfort next year thanks to a £3.4 million investment in the station by Network Rail, which is supported by Virgin Trains and Merseytravel.

Route improvement work on the West Coast Main Line

An intensive programme of route improvement work at various locations over two weeks from Saturday 23 August through to Sunday 7 September will mean extensive alterations to Virgin Trains services and includes WEEKDAY schedules.

Just a penny for around two miles...

The lowest cost for the single journey of almost 300 miles will be a mere £1, plus a booking fee of 50p that is the same whether the booking is for one person or more, so two people travelling together could go for a total of £2.50.

Virgin to run West Coast Replacement Shuttle Train

Virgin Trains will operate a direct Birmingham International to London Euston train service on all dates when the West Coast Main Line is closed at Rugby due to route upgrade work, offering a much better service for customers than during previous closures.

UK Department for Transport reaches agreement

The UK Department for Transport reached agreement with Alstom for the supply and the maintenance of Pendolino high-speed tilting trains for use on the West Coast Main Line between London and Glasgow, one of the United Kingdom's main railway routes.

More car parking spaces for Preston station

Virgin Trains in partnership with Network Rail is doubling the number of car parking spaces available for rail passengers at Preston station. When completed it will provide an additional 469 car parking spaces. The new 939-space car park is expected to be completed in Spring 2009.

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