Hitachi Rail engineers convert disused train carriage into school library

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Hitachi Rail engineers based at Newton Aycliffe have helped a local primary school to transform an auctioned-off pacer train.

Kirk Merrington Primary School in Spennymoor first appealed to the local community for help in 2019 after outgrowing its existing facilities following a surge in pupil numbers. School staff devised an ambitious plan to repurpose their current library into an additional classroom, whilst launching a fundraiser to purchase a disused Pacer train in which they could convert into a unique learning environment.

After succeeding in their bid to get their hands on a decommissioned unit, volunteers from Network Rail worked to install track, sleepers, and ballast for the Pacer train to sit on. Once in place, the carriage had to be gutted and made a safe environment. It was at this stage engineers from Hitachi Rail hopped on board to lend a hand.

The engineers first became aware of the project through a colleague who had a child attending Kirk Merrington. Expressing a desire to get involved, four members of the team worked for two weeks to fully strip out the train, before other Hitachi Rail employees worked on making the carriage safe for use as a library.

Steven Hall, senior section leader at Newton Aycliffe, was one of those who contributed. He said:

“It’s invaluable being involved in the community like we are up here at Newton Aycliffe. The school have been so thankful for the community coming together to help them out.

“For us specifically, it’s been fantastic to support such a unique local project that will provide the children at Kirk Merrington with a fun environment in which to read and learn.”

The Hitachi Rail engineers were in attendance for the official opening of the primary school’s all-new learning environment and library in March. The event celebrated two years of hard work and was well attended by the local community.

Image credit: Hitachi Rail

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