RUGBY could soon become the centre of the midlands transport network as a new £22 million Rail Operating Centre (ROC) officially opened in the borough.
Network Rail’s new operating centres will eventually control the entire train network in Britain and replace more than 800 signal boxes and signalling stations.
It was described by Network Rail as “a key part of the future of Britain’s railway which will place Rugby firmly on the rail map”.
The Rugby centre, joining 11 others across the country, will have more advanced signalling tools and technology to help reduce delays, improve performance, increase capacity, provide better information to passengers and offer better value for money for passengers and taxpayers.
The centre was officially opened by Coun Michael Stokes, leader of Rugby Borough Council, last Wednesday (November 11).
Coun Stokes said: “I’m reminded every day of how important the railway is to our town and what strong historical links we have with the railway. Rugby is the fastest growing town in the Midlands and one of the fastest growing towns in the UK.
“This facility highlights our commitment to work with businesses to ensure they receive a warm welcome to our town and I am pleased we will continue to be part of the future of the railway in Britain.”
Andy Scott from Network Rail, who has overseen the creation of the Rugby centre, said: “This new rail operating centre is an essential part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a better service to passengers and will make sure Rugby is a key location on the railway map for decades to come.”
The Rugby centre is already controlling the recently upgraded Stafford area railway lines and will control the Norton Bridge area, near Stafford, from Easter 2016.
Control for other areas of the railway will be transferred to the building over the coming years when they are resignalled as part of the Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.
When fully operational, up to 400 staff will work from the Rugby ROC.