Northern has completed essential upgrades at the Alight maintenance depot in Barrow-in-Furness as part of the Manchester Recovery Task Force initiative. The depot now features a new train-fuelling and servicing facility that can handle up to three carriages simultaneously, effectively tripling the previous capacity. This upgrade enables six-car Class 195 trains between Manchester Airport and Cumbria.
Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, highlighted the benefits of the new facilities, stating that faster train servicing results in improved reliability for customers in the region and beyond. With the introduction of 3,000 new services per week in the December 2022 timetable, 2,000 of those were in the North West. Therefore, the increased capacity at the Barrow-in-Furness depot was necessary to accommodate this growth.
In addition to the expanded platform and servicing capabilities, the depot has also undergone other improvements. A steel canopy was built to provide shelter for staff and equipment, while fuel pumps were upgraded, and energy-efficient lighting was installed. RTS Infrastructure Services collaborated with Northern to carry out the depot upgrades, with Managing Director Chris Reid commending the depot team for their support and proactive attitude in ensuring the safe and timely completion of the enhancements.
The new Barrow-in-Furness facility for improved service reliability
The Manchester Recovery Task Force, established in January 2020 to address performance concerns in the Manchester rail network, proposed various measures to improve the situation, including implementing a new timetable. Northern’s utilisation of six-car trains on the Cumbria to Manchester Airport route effectively doubles the onboard capacity, providing customers with more reliable services.
Similar improvement work has also been progressing at Beckton Depot for the upcoming launch of new Docklands Light Railway trains. Transport for London has selected Morgan Sindall Infrastructure to expand maintenance facilities and install new assembly equipment at the depot.