City receives ‘signal box’ application

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PLANS have been submitted for a new Network Rail building in York which could safeguard hundreds of jobs as well as the city’s railway heritage.

Plans were announced by Network Rail in November for the rail operating centre (ROC), one of 14 such centres being established across the country.

A facility in York would control rail operations on the East Coast main line between London and the Scottish Borders.

The ROC and training centre would be built on disused land next to York railway station.

It would be the largest of its kind and enable signalling and traffic control to be managed in a single location.

Now the firm has submitted a full planning application for the site to York Council, with a decision expected towards the end of June.

A Network Rail spokeswoman yesterday admitted the centre would create no additional jobs for the city, with the 475 people employed there either existing railway workers in York or personnel moved from other parts of the region. But the firm claims the development will retain jobs in York and safeguard the city’s railway heritage.

Last month, York Council’s leader James Alexander urged the city’s residents to back the plans for the new ROC, saying it would help secure existing expertise, as well as generating opportunities for future growth.