Warning to stay off railway as 25,000 volt cables are switched on at Wigan depot

The Wigan Springs Branch Depot is taking shape
The Wigan Springs Branch Depot is taking shape

Wiganers are being warned to stay off the railway as potentially-lethal high voltage cables are switched on at the town's new train depot.

Overhead line equipment carrying a massive 25,000 volts of electricity has been installed as part of the transformation of the Wigan Springs Branch Depot.

Overhead inspections taking place

Overhead inspections taking place

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That has sparked a strong warning from Network Rail that residents should never trespass on the railway as the new kit poses an even-greater danger to life and limb.

The redevelopment is taking place to support the introduction of electric trains across the region, part of the Great North Rail Project.

Lawrence Cheung, senior sponsor at Network Rail, said: “Once installed, the cables are always switched on - even when there are no trains passing. It carries 25,000 volts of electricity, which can be fatal.

"Our message is simple – never trespass on the railway for any reason.

“Safety is our priority and we are informing local people about the new equipment which will allow Northern to stable and clean their growing fleet of trains in the North West."

Wigan Springs Branch Depot is being adapted to stable and maintain 24 electric and eight diesel trains for Northern, creating 19 jobs in the process.

Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: “It’s fantastic to see the new depot nearing completion, bringing with it greater flexibility for train operations and, crucially, more jobs for the area.

“We’re grateful to Network Rail for the work done so far and look forward to being able to officially open the depot later in the year.”

With the number of passengers set to double in the North over the next 25 years, more depots are needed to enable the more frequent services and additional trains planned by 2020.

The location of the state-of-the-art £46m depot in Ashton provides access to the electrified rail network and Northern hopes it will enable the operator to move trains overnight in preparation for services the next day.

It will be brought into use from December 2019.

For more information about railway safety visit networkrail.co.uk/safety-in-the-community.