Home Company News Former depot makes way for new maintenance facility

Former depot makes way for new maintenance facility

Balfour Beatty has commenced demolition of the old Chart Leacon depot in Ashford, Kent, to make room for a new train maintenance facility.

The former depot closed in 2014 and has lain empty since then. Now the Network Rail contractor is taking it down in order to make room for five new railway sidings, where trains can be stored and undergo light maintenance. This will also allow for the direct creation of 50 new jobs in the town alongside numerous other indirect jobs associated with activities on the site.

Chart Leacon pit.

Network Rail Southern Region’s investment director Paul Harwood said: “Although it may seem strange to be talking about improving the capacity of the railway during COVID, we know the passenger numbers will grow again and this is a great opportunity for us to build for the future.

“Before COVID we were running more trains than ever before and one of the aspects we are really short of in Kent and South East London is places to keep them and look after them when they’re not running. By purchasing the whole site at Chart Leacon, as well as building five new sidings, we’re not only helping run a more reliable railway for today, but safeguarding the site for future railway use.”

Along with the sidings to store trains, Network Rail is also building offices and other facilities for staff.

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

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