Porterbrook, the rail leasing company, has been at the heart of the UK rail network for 25 years and owns almost a third of the national passenger rail fleet The company has now announced that it has signed a 15-year lease with St. Modwen that will see the rolling stock asset management company take over future-direction and development of the extensive rail-connected Long Marston facility in Warwickshire.
The announcement secures the long-term future of Long Marston as a railway centre, connected to the national rail network, and will also put Warwickshire on the global map for rail innovation and expertise. The decision to secure and invest in Long Marston also reflects Porterbrook’s absolute commitment to developing and supporting Britain's railway.
The Long Marston site covers 135 acres and consists of 12 miles of storage sidings, a two-mile test-track loop, a short length of electrified line and a number of rail served light maintenance structures.
Management of Long Marston (also known as Quinton Rail Technology Centre) will transfer to Porterbrook by the end of Q2, 2021 and Porterbrook say that "we look forward to working with Motorail to maintain the site’s current capabilities during the transition in management."
Porterbrook plans to work with the rail supply chain and academic bodies, as well as creating new partnerships with technology leaders from other sectors, so that Long Marston can play a role in helping to improve the railway for both passengers and freight customers. The company are looking to invest over £1billion of new capital in UK rail in the coming years.
Porterbrook also confirmed that Long Marston will continue to host the annual RailLive expo, staged by RAIL magazine, when the entire rail industry comes together to showcase the latest developments in a real railway environment. Porterbrook shares Bauer’s ambition that RailLive should become the global showcase for the very best of Britain’s Railway.
Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook said: “The future of Britain’s railway rests on our ability to work collaboratively as an industry. Together we can develop the products and technologies needed to deliver a sustainable railway that benefits all users. Our first step on this journey is securing a significant national asset for the future.
“We already have first-hand experience of using Long Marston to develop and test new products, including HydroFLEX, the UK’s first hydrogen powered train, as well as our Innovation Hub - a static train testbed based at the site for use by SMEs in the supply chain. We are confident that with right strategic direction Long Marston has huge potential to accelerate railway developments across the board.”
Rupert Joseland, Managing Director – St. Modwen Industrial & Logistics, said: “Welcoming Porterbrook to our Meon Vale development in Long Marston secures skilled jobs and railway use at the facility for the long term. “Our transformation of the former Long Marston Estate has seen the creation of a new community at Meon Vale of over 1,000 new homes and 800,000 sq ft of employment space. Porterbrook’s commitment to the site will further bolster Meon Vale’s credentials as a vibrant residential, leisure and business community.”
Porterbrook launched Innovation Hub 2019 at Rail Live. The on-track demonstration unit in a unique facility which allows suppliers to showcase innovative products and innovations to UK and overseas customers.