First GBRf’s Wellingborough depot, which will be used to stable and load materials for Metronet underground possessions, was opened today by John Smith, First GBRf’s Managing Director.
The Wellingborough facility is the only one of its kind in the UK. It will allow the rail and sleeper delivery train (RSDT) to be stabled and loaded with raw materials - concrete sleepers and 216m long welded rail - stockpiled at the depot. ‘Salmon’ wagons and the Corus-owned long welded rail train will be used to bring materials into the stockpile. The facility was funded by Metronet Rail to enable a reduction in risk of supply chain failure.
First GBRf will run trains of over 400m in length of rail, sleepers and ballast from Wellingborough directly into the London Underground network during weekend engineering possessions.
John Smith said; “I am proud that First GBRf is part of such an innovative development and I am confident that our traditional standards of reliability, quality and customer service will enable Metronet to deliver its promises to Underground passengers.”
First GBRf won the 10 year £80 million contract from Metronet in 2005.
Mark Thurston, Deputy Chief Programmes Officer for Metronet, said: “Metronet has already renewed 84 kilometres of track since it began work in April 2003. The new fleet further supports this massive programme.
“The fleet brings the best available technology and methods from the national rail network such as side tippers, the rail and sleeper delivery train and auto ballasters, which have never been used before on the Tube. This has doubled the length of track that can be potentially renewed in any one weekend to 1 kilometre.
“The fleet will also have the effect of tripling the number of worksites Metronet can operate on the open and sub-surface lines of the Metropolitan, District, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines.”
He continued: “We have developed a close and trusting relationship with John and his colleagues at First GBRf and this excellent relationship has helped us to deliver. With this new facility coming fully on line, we will be able to build upon our success through improved confidence in our total delivery capability.”