North West

Network Rail improves operation


Network Rail Ashburys, Gorton, Manchester

Work has reached completion on the construction of a new operating centre in Gorton, Manchester.

The new centre is situated adjacent to Ashburys Railway Station and will allow all Network Rail operations in the North West to operate from one location.

The new facility for Network Rail was constructed on a former Brownfield site, just west of Pottery Lane and north of the Manchester to Hadfield railway line. The building was carefully designed so that it could become a world class signal control centre and achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’ in the process. Now complete, the new facility is the first in what is believed will be a new generation of operating centre, encompassing both sustainable features and technical functionality.

Network Rail Ashburys, Gorton, Manchester

Whilst work was being conducted on the design of the building, a particular focus was made to creating a cost efficient build, with elements built off-site. Another important element was the implementation of security features to ensure that Network Rail personnel and equipment would be as safe and secure as possible.

The new operating centre is a three-storey facility, constructed from a steel frame with a green roof of sedum vegetation. The green roof provides insulation, absorbs rainwater and helps the building to conserve energy.

The building covers an area of 71.45m x 34.8m, with an internal floor area of 6,895m². Inside, the building has space for data processing and office accommodation and is capable of around-the-clock operations.

Network Rail run, maintain and develop Britain’s rail tracks, signalling, bridges, tunnels, level crossings, viaducts and 19 key stations. One of the company’s most important responsibilities is to continually improve the railway and to look at ways in which to best invest in its current services. This new facility in Gorton will now provide Network Rail with better capabilities in the North West along with an improved service for all.

Morgan Sindall was the main contractor on the £15.9 million project, which reached completion in early 2014. During the project’s peak, approximately 110 people worked on the project at any one time, and this included a number of specialist contractors.

Network Rail Ashburys, Gorton, Manchester

James Morgan, Area Director for Morgan Sindall, said:

“We were delighted to win the contract, which was a testament to the combined expertise of our rail and construction teams. Our collaborative and full Building Information Modelling (BIM) level two approach has delivered a bespoke solution to Network Rail and has provided them with a state-of-the-art home for many years to come.”

Morgan Sindall is a leading UK construction and regeneration group, working within the public and commercial sectors, with divisions operating in construction and infrastructure, affordable housing, urban regeneration and investments and fit outs. The completion of the new centre by Morgan Sindall comes off the back of several successful rail projects, including a £13 million extension and enhancement project at Centro’s Wednesbury Depot and an £8 million refurbishment scheme on Liverpool’s underground stations. In addition, Morgan Sindall previously worked on a £9 million project to install a system to cool platform areas at Green Park Tube Station and is involved with the prestigious Crossrail project in London.

Network Rail Ashburys, Gorton, Manchester

For more information about Network Rail please visit: and for more information on Morgan Sindall, please visit:


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