A “much needed” state-of-the-art railroad depot that cost £ 46 million was opened in Wigan.

The existing freight train yard in Springs Branch, Ince was transformed by Network Rail to provide a huge base for the Northern trains to be stored overnight.

It is hoped that this will help the ailing operator, who will go publicly in March, to manage its fleet more effectively and improve the reliability of its services.

The depot, funded by the Department of Transportation (DfT), was created as part of the Great North Rail Project, an industry effort to improve train travel for customers across the region.

The new depot also created 18 jobs

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Railway Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Northern passengers have been the victims of unreliable and overcrowded services for too long, and these £ 46 million are only part of our efforts to improve travel and level infrastructure.

“The new Wigan depot is one of many tangible and tangible improvements to the network, which supports new, greener and more accessible trains right across the north.”

Located on the main West Coast line, the facility spans 3,400 meters of new runway, with 42 pylons supporting 2,600 meters of airline equipment.

Five new service platforms and 1,750m of gangways were also built to allow staff to manage the facility safely.

The construction of the depot also created 18 jobs, which was welcomed by Wigan council leader Coun David Molyneux.

He said: “Supporting people at work and helping people develop their skills is a key priority for the board, so it’s nice to know that 18 new jobs have been created to facilitate this.

“This is a fantastic new facility for the district and we hope that the best travel experience will encourage passengers to visit Wigan.”

Coun Molyneux was joined at the opening of the depot by leading figures from the Department of Transport, Arriva Rail North and Network Rail.

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue also attended the launch, which also featured a commemorative plaque.

“Today’s official inauguration marks the result of several years of construction and a collaboration between so many arms of the railway industry to carry out this fantastic project,” he said.

“This is a real economic boost for Wigan and the Northern rail network will benefit accordingly.”

Network Rail project manager Lauren Rodgers said the rail industry “joined” to build the depot, adding: “This much needed infrastructure will really benefit passengers, as it not only helps keep trains clean and tidy, it also creates more operational space for the North to move units more reliably and on time across the Northwest.

Arriva, which ran services under the Northern brand, said that 62 of the 101 promised new trains had been implemented in the region, with Pacers being phased out by May.