Plans to bring multi-million pound Talgo train centre to Barrow Hill moving forward

Talgo trains.
Talgo trains.

Plans by a Spanish train manufacturer to bring a state-of-the-art centre to Barrow Hill are progressing.

In November, Talgo announced proposals to create a £9million innovation and training facility at Barrow Hill Engine Shed.

Barrow Hill Roundhouse.

Barrow Hill Roundhouse.

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Now, Chesterfield Borough Council has appointed Focus Consultants and Maber Architects to investigate the benefits of such a development.

Councillor Tricia Gilby, the council’s leader, said: "I'm delighted that we have been able to make this appointment.

"The rail innovation centre at Barrow Hill will build on the railway heritage of the area and see a new supply of local engineers and other skilled people enter the workforce to become the innovators of the future."

Heather Frecklington, of Focus Consultants, said: "We were delighted to have been appointed to undertake this exciting study.

"The rail sector is going through a period of unprecidented change with huge investment currently underway and planned for the future.

"It is exciting to be involved in a project which looks at ensuring some of these benefits are captured for our region.

"Our findings, so far, have highlighted a significant need and demand for training and recruitment in the sector with particular skills gaps around rolling stock, signalling, electrification, telecoms and digital.

"Our study is also highlighting why Barrow Hill is a fantastic location for a rail innovation and training centre," she added.

Lee Smith, associate director at Maber Architects, said the planned innovation and training facility at Barrow Hill would be 'state-of-the-art' and 'bring together education, commercial and research partners within the rail sector'.

"Working with the multiple stakeholders involved, we are looking to create a centre that offers innovative workshop spaces where new apprentices, through to industry experts, can work on exciting new rail technology under one roof," he said.

"The facility will comprise a large workshop capable of housing a small train set, specialist workshops, digital laboratories, training rooms and commercial office space."

In November, the borough narrowly missed out on a bid to bring a new Taglo factory to the area in a move which would have created thousands of jobs.

Talgo selected Longannet in Fife, Scotland, as the location for its new factory ahead of the former Hartington Colliery site between Staveley and Barrow Hill.

Talgo, however, insisted the proposed innovation and training centre at Barrow Hill would complement the manufacturing site in Longannet.