Construction work of the new Basingstoke Rail Operating and Training Centre was officially launched last week by Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke.
The centre is one of 12 being built by Network Rail across the country as part of a new way to signal trains. They will eventually replace more than 800 signal boxes and other operational locations currently in use around the network.
It will use advanced technology to control trains that will help to reduce delays, improve performance, boost capacity and provide better information to passengers travelling between London Waterloo and the south coast on one of the busiest routes in the country.
The Basingstoke ROC will also be an important part of the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance, providing training and office space for staff working across the route.
Combining operational services with training and office space will deliver a number of efficiencies in construction, maintenance and operation and provides a central location within the route for staff.
Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke, said: “I very much welcome the significant investment in Basingstoke by Network Rail. It is great to see the start of building of this state-of-the-art signalling and training centre.
“This development will bring huge benefits for Basingstoke with new jobs for local people, new parking facilities and a footbridge. It will improve train services and help to create extra capacity on the railway. It is also a really important investment in the safety and efficiency of the rail network in the region.”
Deputy leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, added: “It is great to see work starting on this important regional facility that demonstrates Basingstoke’s key location on the rail network.
“This marks an important chapter in the regeneration of our town centre business district, Basing View, showing the growing interest from major companies in locating here.”
The centre is being built by BAM Construction and is due to be completed by the end of 2014. The first signallers covering the railway along the Dorset coast are due to be working from the building by the end of 2015.