UK-based rolling stock leasing and asset management company Porterbrook has bid to finance the £66m ($82.9m) Bletchley depot redevelopment work for the West Midlands Trains (WMT). 

This work is set to become the main maintenance hub for the British train operator WMT’s recently procured Class 730 Aventra fleet.

As part of this upgrade programme, the Bletchley depot site, which is located near Milton Keynes, will see the installation of overhead line equipment, a full refurbishment of existing buildings, and new sidings capable of accommodating ten and five-car trains. 

It will also include the implementation of modern security systems at the site.  

The upgrade project is expected to be completed by late next year, allowing the depot to support of electric fleets. 

The latest move to invest in the Bletchley depot is part of Porterbrook’s strategy to diversify its portfolio, which has recently included acquiring a 49% minority stake in Brodie Engineering, a rail engineering business based in Scotland. 

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In addition, Porterbrook has also purchased the Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre, a 135-acre facility in Warwickshire. The company has been operating this centre on lease since June 2021. 

Since its inception in 1996, Porterbrook has invested more than £3.5bn in the rail sector, commissioning around 2,500 new passenger and freight vehicles.  

The company has now set its sights on investing over £1bn into the UK rail industry in the coming years. 

Porterbrook chief investment officer Stefan Rose said: “Bletchley depot has been a stalwart of our railways since the mid-19th century, and we’re delighted to fund the redevelopment it needs to service the modern fleets joining the network.  

“Through private finance, we can maintain and enhance essential rail infrastructure like this to continue to play an important role in the railway for many years to come.”