UP to 20 jobs are being created through the return of railway industry to a depot on the York Central site.

Wagons and locomotives will undergo maintenance work at a former Jarvis shed on land behind York Station and off Leeman Road.

A spokeswoman for Freight-liner Maintenance Limited said it had taken over a facility in Leeman Road to maintain wagons.

“Adhoc locomotive maintenance will take place and a fuelling point will be restored,” she said.

“The site will create between 18 and 20 jobs. At the moment, the number of employees is 12 but we will look to have it up to 18 to 20 by the end of the year.”

Network Rail said the development would not prejudice long-term hopes of a £1 billion redevelopment of the York Central site, which was intended to deliver thousands of jobs and homes, a new road and bridge, shops, restaurants and bus station but was derailed by the recession in 2009 and has been stalled ever since.

“The Freightliner arrangement has been made with full knowledge of the aspirations for the York Central site and does not compromise them in any way,” said a Network Rail spokeswoman.

City of York Council leader James Alexander said York’s railway heritage was a key part of the city’s history and the move saw the continuation of that proud rail tradition.

“The creation of approximately 20 maintenance jobs is great news for the city’s engineering sector. It’s good to see a national company such as Freightliner coming to York and is hopefully the first of many.

“The announcement will not impact on our continued work to develop the York Central site.”

The Freightliner spokeswoman said she could not give details of the lease for the building. Freightliner Maintenance Limited was a subsidiary of Freightliner Group and had maintenance facilities in Leeds, Hope, Dunbar and York.

She said: “Freightliner Maintenance Limited offers a nationwide service operated by an elite team, bringing a fresh approach to the repair and maintenance of traction and rolling stock as well as infrastructure and maintenance solutions.”

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Site must not be forgotten

THE redevelopment of the York Central site, tucked away behind the railway station, seems as far away as ever.

But it is good to see at least a little life being breathed back into the massive tangle of old railway sidings and deserted maintenance sheds.

An old Jarvis shed on land behind the railway station is to be used for maintenance of wagons.

A spokeswoman for Freightliner Maintenance Ltd says by the end of the year the work will employ up to 20 people.

That is a drop in the ocean in comparison with the army of highly-skilled staff who used to be employed in this part of York, building railway coaches and maintaining track.

But it is good news nonetheless, and helps to keep York’s long railway tradition alive. Perhaps the fact that a national firm like Freightliner has come here may encourage others to follow.

Network Rail stresses the wagon maintenance operation will not stand in the way of the eventual £1 billion redevelopment of the huge York Central site. Freightliner is fully aware of long-term plans, a spokesman said.

The hope is ultimately to redevelop the site to provide thousands of jobs and homes, as well as shops, restaurants and a bus station.

Sadly, the ambitious plans were derailed by the 2009 recession and have been stalled ever since.

For York’s long-term future, however, it is vital that the potential of this site should not be forgotten.

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