Porterbrook announced it has added the Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre to its portfolio of railway assets.
The Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre covers 135-acres, offering a 2-mile (3.2-km) circular test track and over 12 miles (19 km) of secure train storage facilities, connected to the national rail network.
The site is located outside Stratford-upon-Avon, and falls within the Warwickshire, West Midlands and Midlands Connect boundaries. Long Marston is Porterbrook’s first operational and delivery facility. It complements the company’s existing London HQ and its East Midlands engineering design and asset management centre, located in Derby, at the heart of Britain’s railway.
Porterbrook’s existing partners, Chrysalis and the University of Birmingham, will remain on site. Over time, they will be joined by other businesses who share the vision to transform Long Marston into a leading centre for railway innovation.
“To meet the ambitions set-out by the ‘Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail’ we need to have an unremitting focus upon sustainable delivery, innovation and collaboration. Porterbrook is committed to supporting this ambition and our new Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre will help achieve this,” Porterbrook Chief Executive Mary Grant said.
The rolling stock owner and asset manager plans to significantly invest and upgrade the on-site facilities to benefit customers and suppliers across the rail industry, as well as bringing new jobs and skills to the area.
To deliver British rail innovations, Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham developed the HydroFlex train that will be based at Long Marston. In 2020, the hydrogen started operational testing following a two-year development phase and a GBP 1 million (EUR 1.17 million) investment. A GPB 750,000 (EUR 876,000) grant was provided by the Department for Transport to develop this first British hydrogen train.
The HydroFlex train will which is expected to enter production from September will be attending COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021.