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Sleeper factory plans secure jobs in the West Midlands

A railway site in Sandwell has been identified to build a new factory that will supply sleepers to the rail network across Britain for years to come.

Network Rail has highlighted the railway sidings at Bescot as the preferred location for a new concrete sleeper factory which will secure up to 100 jobs in the West Midlands and ensure Bescot remains a key location on the national railway map.

Sleepers are a vital part of the railway, and if approved, the new facility will produce up to 600,000 of them a year, accounting for 60 per cent of Britain’s supply. Network Rail’s other factory in Doncaster will provide the remaining 40 per cent.

As part of Network Rail’s ongoing commitment to be more efficient and cost-effective, the proposed site at Bescot will be directly connected to the rail network making it quicker and easier to transport the sleepers around Britain.

Martin Frobisher, route managing director of Network Rail’s London and North Western route said: ‘Network Rail remains committed to the West Midlands economy which is why Bescot has been identified as our preferred location for the new factory that will retain the bulk of our sleeper manufacturing presence in the region.

‘Bescot is ideally placed at the heart of the rail network to provide sleepers across Britain. We are in discussion with the local council to carry out an environmental assessment of the proposed factory and its impact on the surrounding area before we fully consult with local people and stakeholders on our plans.’

Network Rail will award a 15 year contract to manufacture concrete railway sleepers in spring this year.