Balfour Beatty has commenced demolition of the old Chart Leacon depot in Ashford, Kent, to make room for a new train maintenance facility.
The former depot closed in 2014 and has lain empty since then. Now the Network Rail contractor is taking it down in order to make room for five new railway sidings, where trains can be stored and undergo light maintenance. This will also allow for the direct creation of 50 new jobs in the town alongside numerous other indirect jobs associated with activities on the site.
Network Rail Southern Region’s investment director Paul Harwood said: “Although it may seem strange to be talking about improving the capacity of the railway during COVID, we know the passenger numbers will grow again and this is a great opportunity for us to build for the future.
“Before COVID we were running more trains than ever before and one of the aspects we are really short of in Kent and South East London is places to keep them and look after them when they’re not running. By purchasing the whole site at Chart Leacon, as well as building five new sidings, we’re not only helping run a more reliable railway for today, but safeguarding the site for future railway use.”
Along with the sidings to store trains, Network Rail is also building offices and other facilities for staff.