GB Railfreight (GBRf) has finished two major upgrade projects worth more than £1.5 million. The funding was provided by Network Rail and was aimed at improving the Local Distribution Centres (LDCs) in Eastleigh and Bescot.
These centres act as an essential focal point for the shunting, marshalling and preparation of trains used to support engineering works carried out by Network Rail.
GBRf says the improvements at the Eastleigh LDC, in Hampshire, have been two years in the making – and involved the replacement of old cabins with updated facilities. These facilities have recreation space, management offices, a meeting room, and a vantage point that overlooks the yard. There was also a car park overhaul to make better use of space.
Staff relocated to the new facility on 1 June 2021, after working from temporary accommodation.
The West Midlands-based Bescot LDC, meanwhile, has undergone a series of works to repair and renew what GBRf describes as “underinvested and unsafe” track at the site. Abandoned buildings were removed, lighting upgraded, Armco crash barriers installed, and walking routes and safety steps put in place. A siding was also reinstated, using recycled rail and sleepers.
Backed by Network Rail Supply Chain Operations (SCO) and the Network Rail Freight Safety Improvement Fund, Bescot LDC has been improved to prevent derailments.
Supply chain services director at Network Rail, Mike Black, said: “Local distribution centres may not instinctively sound like the most critical part of running a railway, but they’re absolutely vital to maintaining and renewing the railway, and keeping our passengers and freight moving.
“The improvements delivered at Eastleigh and Bescot are part of our wider strategy to modernise supply chain operations sites in order to make working practices even safer and more efficient while also improving performance.”
Asset director of GB Railfreight, David Golding, said: “Our partnership with Network Rail has seen the completion of both projects on time and within budget, providing the facilities needed to ensure the smooth running of LDCs, which are a vital part of our infrastructure system in the UK.
“This work will help to bring LDCs into the twenty-first century, as we see demand for UK-wide possession and support services increase post-pandemic.”