DONCASTER is set for a manufacturing jobs boost after planning permission was granted for a new factory to supply vital components to Britain’s rail network.
The new factory will produce hundreds of thousands of concrete sleepers needed for Network Rail’s programme of track improvement works, creating 30 jobs.
Martin Elwood, director of Network Rail’s national delivery service, said: “This factory is crucial if we are to deliver better value for money whilst maintaining a safe, reliable railway.
“We need about 700,000 concrete sleepers each year and, once commissioned, this factory will produce about 400,000 of those. It will also directly create about 30 new jobs, with knock-on benefits to the local supply chain.”
Located on the former woodyard site near Ten Pound Walk, Doncaster, the factory will be owned by Network Rail but built and operated by a new consortium, Trackwork Moll.
Mr Elwood said: “This is a strategic decision by Network Rail to protect the supplies which are vital for our track programme. At the same time, we can reduce costs by increasing competition and introducing more modern production methods.
“Doncaster is the ideal location for this factory as these sidings are already used as a hub for engineering trains and its central location will make distribution across Britain’s rail network easier and more efficient.”
Supply of concrete sleepers from Britain is limited to just two suppliers – one of which has given notice that it intends to close the plant. Network Rail decided to seek a build and supply contractor in 2009. Trackwork Moll won this process and the scheme received board approval in spring 2011.
Peter Heubeck, Trackwork Moll general manager, said: “We are delighted to have been successful and look forward to providing an excellent service from this very efficient new plant.”
Clearance of the woodyard site has already begun and construction is due to start in July with full production due to begin in spring 2013.