The depot, close to Liverpool South Parkway, is ideally located for maintaining, servicing and stabling trains operating between Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool. It currently houses Northern’s brand new Class 331 electric trains as well as the refurbished Class 332s and Class 319s.
In the very near future Allerton will also provide a base for the innovative Class 769s which are able to operate using either diesel or electricity.
Originally a rail freight depot, Northern has constructed and installed several hi-tech pieces of equipment and infrastructure designed to modernise the maintenance of trains and turn Allerton into a 21st Century hub of engineering excellence.
Ben Ackroyd, Northern’s Engineering Director said: “Trains are just like cars, they require regular maintenance and need to be repaired when mechanical issues occur.
“We want to get as many trains out in service as possible and to do that we need state-of-the-art engineering facilities and expert technicians and engineers.
“Train maintenance depots are the unseen critical element of the railway and Arriva has delivered multi-million pound investment across the north to improve and expand these operations.
“Infrastructure development is not easy and takes a long time, but I am confident these improved depots will deliver more trains into service on a daily basis and help improve capacity for customers.”
The multi-million pound improvements include improved features such as high level access platforms (accompanied by a crane to allow for top-of-train maintenance), undercarriage bogie drop and trolley to safely remove underframe components without having to lift the trains, and newly designed shore supplies which provide power to trains undergoing maintenance.
These improvements mean Allerton depot can now maintain and stable up to 118 trains at any one point and turnaround times for trains requiring maintenance has been improved.
Aside from the scheduled exams, Allerton’s team of engineers will also respond to in service faults and incidents, will fuel trains and will wash and clean vehicles, externally and internally as they come onto site.
Further expansion of Allerton is planned in the future with a new wheel turning facility set to be installed. This will give Northern’s engineers improved capacity to fix wheels which are damaged through general wear and tear and also through difficult autumn and winter conditions. The new facility will speed up the repair process – as well as enhancing preventative measures – and will ensure more trains are available when they are most needed.
As well as enhancing facilities at Allerton, Arriva Rail North has also delivered investment at various depots across the Northern network including major work to provide new facilities at Ardwick and Newton Heath in Manchester, whilst Network Rail has constructed brand new train depots at Blackburn and Wigan Springs Branch.
These investments in rail infrastructure across the North West are a critical part in allowing Northern to increase its fleet size, offer more capacity to customers and provide an additional 2,000 services a week.