Porterbrook to electrify Long Marston test track

Rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook has announced plans to electrify the Long Marston test track in Warwickshire. Porterbrook took over operations at Long Marston in 2021 and completed the purchase in March this year.

Porterbrook said its latest upgrade would take its total investment in Long Marston, which has 3.5km of track, to more than £75 million since 2021. The electrification should be ready for use next year.

The site has been used to store rolling stock for many years, and it was where the first Vivarail trains were displayed under test in 2015, having been converted from redundant London Underground D78 units. Vivarail has since ceased to exist, but some of its battery units have been acquired by GWR for testing on the Greenford branch in west London.

The test site upgrade will involve the installation of 25kV overhead, but Porterbrook told Railnews it has no plans to include conductor rails. Long Marston will also offer ETCS digital signalling and be compatible with other forms of traction, including hydrogen, battery and diesel. The maximum line speed will be 50mph (80km/h).

Porterbrook CEO Mary Grant said: ‘With the future of Long Marston now confirmed we’ve wasted no time starting the next phase of the site improvements to reinforce our commitment to being a long-term partner for the rail industry.

‘Substantial replacement of life-expired vehicles is needed over the next decade, and the track upgrades mean that we can deliver the best level of service with our manufacturing partners for new rolling stock entering service.’

Porterbrook has already been improving Long Marston over the past three years, including improved roads, enhanced training services, refurbished offices and the addition of a £3 million Asset Management Facility.

Back to News

Related Articles