Alstom Transport has started on site with its 300,000 sq ft technology centre and training academy in Widnes, which was granted planning approval in May.
Buckingham Construction has almost completed the steel frame for the facility, which is the first element of development on a 30-acre site acquired from Halton Council.
The former HBC Fields site in Halebank, near to the West Coast railway mainline, is included as part of the Mersey Multi Modal Gateway strategic development plan, formulated in 2000 and known as 3MG.
The facility will build on Alstom’s involvement in the UK rail market where it offers warehousing, component manufacturing, repair and modernisation services for intercity, regional and metro trains.
The project majors on the construction of the technology centre, with access from rail and road, to house engineering operations, alongside a substation, service yards and HGV parking.
The North West Transport Training Academy is due to open in May 2017.
Alstom will use the centre to carry out essential maintenance work, and also hopes to offer a co-location space for its suppliers. The Widnes site will have a focus on reliable, low carbon power sources.
Later phases could include an 80,000 sq ft extension to the service yard, followed by an 180,000 sq ft warehouse.
Nick Crossfield, managing director for Alstom in the UK and Ireland, said: “The UK remains one of the most exciting places in the world for rail companies like Alstom. Our new centre in Widnes will create hundreds of good quality jobs and apprenticeships, and boost the UK supply chain.
“Here in Widnes, we will create Alstom’s very own rail campus, bringing together our experienced team with the next generation of engineers and apprentices. Longer-term, we would also be able to build trains here, for example for New Tube for London. The Government’s investment in the railways offers the UK a once-in-a-generation opportunity to completely transform the passenger experience, and at Alstom we want to build the trains that will deliver that.”