Network Rail marked the opening of a £14million depot in Doncaster yesterday (Tuesday, 7 July) which will bring highly skilled teams across the borough together. It will also help to boost the economy in the town which is famous for its railway history.
Work began to expand and transform the site at Marshgate, which is close to Doncaster station, in 2015. Almost 600 workers will be based at the multi-million-pound facility, which means teams can work more collaboratively on projects to maintain and improve the railway.
The development will bring the opportunity for future jobs at Network Rail. It is also more inclusive for everyone, with gender neutral facilities such as toilets and changing rooms, and lifts which mean the buildings are accessible.
Network Rail engineers have carried out work to demolish the older buildings on the site and build new, modern facilities. There are also new access roads, footpaths and car parks. Work was completed in July 2019, in partnership with Doncaster Council and Sheffield City Region, to strengthen and heighten Friarsgate Road bridge as part of the project. This means that larger vehicles can use the bridge to get in and out of the depot.
Work on the main building is now complete, but the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted some of the final stages of the project and landscaping work will continue as teams begin to use the facility. Risk assessments have been carried out to make sure workers can continue following social distancing guidelines, with some smaller buildings, which were due to be demolished, remaining to create additional space.
Speaking as he opened the facility, named Mallard House after the famous steam locomotive, Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of Network Rail said: “As an industry, we have a lot to do as we support people returning to the railway after COVID. But we have a fantastic history in Doncaster as one of the archetypal railway towns and we have a fantastic history in the name of Mallard.
“I genuinely believe that with the quality of the people we have here and these new facilities to support them, we have a fantastic future as well.”
Rob McIntosh, Managing Director for Network Rail’s Eastern Region, said: “It was important for us to develop this modern £14million depot in Doncaster to celebrate the strong railway history in the town.
“Doncaster is already home to the Flying Scotsman and the National College for High Speed Rail, and this state-of-the-art facility at Marshgate will enhance both the vital work that our teams are doing in the area and the future of the railway.
“It will bring workers from depots across the area together, so that they can work collaboratively to maintain and improve the railway in the region.”