The new £20 million extension to Newton Heath depot in Manchester is being fitted with the latest depot protection system to safeguard workers.
Northern’s new Class 195 diesel trains will be housed at Newton Heath and the team of 300 staff will also be responsible for routine servicing, maintenance, upkeep and repair, much of which is carried out at night to keep trains in passenger service during the day.
All four roads in the new facility will be protected by Zonegreen’s New Generation Depot Personnel Protection System (DPPS®). It automates operational procedures and guarantees the safety of workers by removing the margin for human error.
Working with main contractor Stobart Rail, Sheffield-based Zonegreen has implemented a safety system that is a replica to the one installed in the depot’s original 10-road facility five years ago.
Powered derailers have been fitted to each maintenance road, operated by control panels that workers log onto using personalised datakeys that record their whereabouts. Beacons and klaxons provide audible and visual warnings of vehicle movements and the firm’s Depot Manager software has been installed and linked to the main shed to provide an overview of all maintenance activity.
Zonegreen has also utilised its interlocking technology in the Newton Heath extension to control the operation of two cranes and an engine drop table, preventing vehicle movements if any of them are out of their safe position. Likewise, pit lighting can only be initiated if staff are logged onto the appropriate road correctly – a simple and effective way to make them follow procedure.
Zonegreen’s technical director Christian Fletcher said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Stobart Rail on this latest project, ensuring the safety of everyone at Newton Heath continues to be a priority.
“It is testament to the reliability and flexibility of DPPS that Northern Rail has chosen to incorporate it into the extension and continue working with us, reinforcing our longstanding relationship.”
Newton Heath is one of the oldest working depots in the UK and the largest operated by Northern Rail. The new extension will increase maintenance capacity at the site and be used to house and maintain Northern’s new Class 195 diesel trains that are being supplied by CAF and which are being introduced to the local network.