Doubts over new Suffolk rail depot as Greater Anglia looks at options
- Credit: Archant
Proposals to build a new multi-million pound rail depot on the Suffolk/Essex border at Brantham near Manningtree are being reconsidered by Greater Anglia.
The new depot was being planned to help service and clean the fleet of new trains that are being introduced by the train operating company from next year.
Greater Anglia announced the proposal to build the new depot in February last year, but it has now told employees in a staff newsletter that the project is under review.
A spokeswoman for the company said that technical issues and negotiations with the landowner had held up completing a deal – and a decision would be made on the future of the project by the spring.
She said: “There remain a number of issues to be resolved to ensure delivery of our new depot at Brantham.
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“These include the preparation of the site, the link line to access the site and the fact that we have yet to agree commercial terms with the landowner involved.
“We are therefore looking at alternative options for the maintenance and cleaning that is due to be undertaken at Brantham, in case we need to alter our plans.
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“We expect to be able to confirm the next steps, either with Brantham or, if necessary, a new plan within the next three months.”
When it was announced the company said they would build a 13-track depot where trains could be cleaned and their toilets maintained alongside a 300-metre two-track shed for train maintenance.
The depot – planned for the former ICI site next to the rail line – would create 30 jobs when it opened in 2019, but with the possibility of employing more in the future.
If it does not go ahead, existing depots at Ilford, Norwich and Clacton might be expanded – or another site could be sought to carry out the work.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge is keen to see Greater Anglia complete the project to regenerate a redundant industrial site in his constituency.
He said: “This is an important project – and it is also an extremely complex one. I remain hopeful that Greater Anglia, Babergh council and the landowner can agree a scheme to bring this forward to benefit the area and rail passengers.”