Railways: Birmingham

Department for Transport written question – answered on 12th April 2019.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of Network Rail's sleeper factory at Doncaster meeting the shortfall in production capacity in the event of the potential closure of Network Rail’s exiting sleeper factory at Washwood Heath, Birmingham.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

A proposal for a new facility in Bescot is being developed by Network Rail to produce the sleepers necessary for them to maintain, renew, and enhance our rail network. The facility is intended to make up the shortfall when an existing facility at Washwood Heath is closed to become an HS2 depot.

The Network Rail facility at Doncaster is not capable of being extended to increase capacity. The facility itself is entirely surrounded by adjacent development, railway lines, railway depots, housing and roads. It is operating at full capacity and only able to deliver production of 400,000 sleepers each year.

Additionally, Network Rail require a geographically separate, second facility to avoid the supply chain risk of a single point of failure, should anything prevent production at a facility.

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