PLANS to turn a derelict plot of land in Basingstoke into a Network Rail multi-million pound hub have been unveiled to the public.
Last week, Network Rail held a two-day public exhibition to show off proposals for its flagship training and operations centre at Gresley Road, opposite Basing View.
As revealed by The Gazette last year, Network Rail has bought six acres of the derelict site, known as the Gresley Road Triangle.
Now, the company says it plans to submit a planning application to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council by December, and hopes to start building the £10million centre by August 2013, ahead of an early 2015 opening.
The Network Rail hub will be a state-of-the-art signalling centre. Staff will be tasked with controlling rail signals across the entire Wessex route, which covers rail track from London Waterloo, down to Weymouth, and includes Guildford, and Salisbury.
The building will bring staff from up to 30 signal centres across the south east under one roof, and Steve Brown, Wessex route programme manager for Network Rail, said it will lead to a better service.
“All our signal controllers will be working in the same building, so if there is a problem they can work together to help reduce delay,” he said.
“By building all of this together, it will improve the service, and at the end of the day, it will be better value for money. It will make things more efficient and drive down costs.”
Alongside the signal centre, Network Rail will create a workforce development centre, and welding training facility in a separate building. And staff at South West Trains training centre, in Springpark House, on Basing View, will also relocate to the new site.
Network Rail has said the Gresley Road regeneration plan will include splitting a £3m bill with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to build a footbridge from the site, across the railway line, to Basing View.
Mr Brown added that the scheme has been well received since it was announced last year. “The neighbours will not be affected and everybody who has come through the doors at the exhibition supports the scheme,” he said. “It is a positive development for Basingstoke.”