Transport minister Stephen Hammond unveils £6million investment in Wimbledon train depot
A £6m investment in one of the country's biggest train depots was unveiled by transport minister and Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond today.
A total of 108 extra carriages will be maintained at the Wimbledon depot, next to Wimbledon station, over the coming year.
Mr Hammond cut the ribbon on Monday, June 30, to unveil the investment in a new bogie drop system at the depot.
This means that single train carriages can have their bogies, the part of the train carrying the wheels and other mechanical equipment, detached at track level.
This allows maintenance, inspection and cleaning work to take place in other areas of the train while these parts are being changed.
A South West Trains and Network Rail spokesperson said the Wimbledon depot is already one of the busiest train maintenance depots in the country with an average of 250 train carriages being maintained there every night.
The team of around 170 depot staff are responsible for delivering some of the most reliable trains in the UK, the spokesperson said.
Mr Hammond was also given a sneak preview of the first refurbished Class 456 train.
The fleet of 24 Class 456 trains are part of the multi-million pound investment into rail services on the South West Trains’ network.
These trains are currently being refurbished at a cost of around £15 million and once refurbished will be similar in style to the Class 455 fleet currently operated by the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance.
Mr Hammond said: "As part of our long-term economic plan, £38 billion will be invested over the next five years in improving and maintaining our railways across the UK, increasing capacity and providing more efficient and reliable journeys for passengers.
"Investing in these new facilities at Wimbledon depot is an essential part of this work and will ensure the industry is well-equipped to meet the demands of the rail network both now and in the future."
The refurbishment will transform the way staff carry out maintenance of the train fleet at Wimbledon depot, bringing the 1970s depot up-to-date with modern facilities.