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New rail depot unveiled by Greater Anglia at Brantham on Suffolk/Essex border

PUBLISHED: 11:27 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:59 10 February 2017

James Cartlidge at the former ICI site at Brantham.

James Cartlidge at the former ICI site at Brantham.

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Plans for a new multi-million pound rail depot near Manningtree station have been unveiled by Greater Anglia.

The planned location of the new Greater Anglia rail workshop at Brantham. The planned location of the new Greater Anglia rail workshop at Brantham.

The new depot will be built on part of the former ICI plant at Brantham just north of Manningtree station on the Suffolk side of the River Stour.

The new depot will be used to maintain and repair the fleet of new trains that will be introduced by Greater Anglia as part of its new franchise from 2019 onwards.

The creation of a new depot in the Manningtree area was a key element of the franchise agreement awarded to Greater Anglia in August last year – when we revealed that the Brantham site was at the top of the list for the investment.

The formal announcement was made today by Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles supported by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge and Babergh Council deputy leader Simon Barrett.

The new Greater Anglia Intercity train being built by Stadler - one of the trains to be maintained at Brantham. The new Greater Anglia Intercity train being built by Stadler - one of the trains to be maintained at Brantham.

The new depot will include 13 tracks where trains can be parked overnight for cleaning and toilet maintenance. Two further tracks will be undercover in a 300-metre shed, with full under- train inspection pits and cranes for general train maintenance.

Covering an area of 22 acres on the north side of the existing railway, the depot will be fully electrified.

A new wheel lathe will be installed, to provide another location on the Greater Anglia network where train wheel repairs can be carried out, minimising the length of time trains are out of service. This is especially useful during autumn, when slippery conditions damage wheels.

Other facilities will include a train wash, remote train monitoring systems, a control room and spares storage.

The new depot will be built on this derelict site next to the rail line at Brantham The new depot will be built on this derelict site next to the rail line at Brantham

Land owners St Francis Group will also clear derelict land opposite the new depot and fully landscape it.

Design work and construction planning for the new depot starts this month. The site is due to be cleared in March and building should begin in the summer.

The depot will open at the end of 2018 and will create 30 jobs in the first instance – although the number could increase over time. It will also train a new generation of rail apprentices.

Mr Burles said: “Providing a depot near Manningtree will enable us to bring in our ambitious new timetable with more frequent trains and reduced journey times.”

Mr Cartlidge welcomed the boost the depot would bring for the area: “I am delighted that Abellio has chosen to make such a significant commitment to the economy of South Suffolk.

“The Brantham industrial site has been largely derelict and decaying for many years and it was perhaps therefore understandable that local residents were sceptical if Babergh’s plans to regenerate the site would ever deliver new high quality commercial occupants.

“In fact, we have a very substantive and long-term commitment from a major international business creating skilled job opportunities in the local area.”

Mr Barrett said the depot would help to kick-start the development of the rest of the site with homes and other businesses.

He was particularly pleased about the nature of the development: “People were worried that whatever happened it could bring more lorries to the area, but this depot will not do that – it is great news for the area.”

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