South West Trains project to begin in Eastleigh next year

South West Trains project to begin in Eastleigh next year : A £40m railway works project in Eastleigh could be underway as early as next year, it has been revealed.

As previously reported, the once thriving railway town will benefit from a huge investment from South West Trains to upgrade its Class 455 train fleet.

Now it has been confirmed the work is likely to start as early as next year – bringing a timely jobs boost to the town following the scheduled closure of the Ford factory this summer.

The improvements will be carried out by railway technology firm Vossloh Kiepe UK and will see work begin at the Wimbledon depot in January to modify the first Class 455 unit.

The firm hopes the unit will be in service by November 2014, and Vossloh Keiper UK managing director Graham Roberts anticipates the remaining 90 units will be modified in Eastleigh.

Work is expected to be completed by 2016.

South West Trains, which operates trains in Hampshire, hopes the upgrade will provide more reliable services on the Metro area from London Waterloo to Reading, the Hounslow loop and the Shepperton branch.

Eastleigh Railway Works thrived in a golden age of train engineering and employed thousands of people at the site at its peak. But works in the railway town were downgraded seven years ago.

The Eastleigh works site has been managed by property firm St Modwen since 2002 and Knights Rail Services (KRS) started operating there in 2007.

It was eventually bought by Arlington Fleet Services in 2012, which is leasing the site to Vossloh Kiepe.

Mr Roberts told the Daily Echo employment opportunities may arise during the project.

He said: “Work will be starting at the Wimbledon depot in January, with the first modified Class 455 unit in service by November 2014. It is anticipated that the remaining 90 units will be modified at Eastleigh, with completion due in 2016.

“As the project progresses through each of the development stages, we believe opportunities will arise for designers and technicians to join our project team, and the modification of the rail vehicles will also generate additional work for the railway maintenance facilities in Eastleigh.

“Eastleigh has a proud rail heritage and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work in the town. Where practicable, we will be looking to recruit and source from regional suppliers.

“Two units will be taken out of service at any one time and installation will take just six days to complete once production is in full flow, so we anticipate the full fleet of 90 units will take two years complete.”

He added: “There are no other projects in the pipeline for South West Trains but Vossloh Kiepe UK provides a broad range of engineering and technology integration solutions for the rail industry and where practical we would be keen to bring this work to Eastleigh.”

South West Trains project

Source : dailyecho

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