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William Cook Rail, the luxury rail rolling stock maker, has unveiled a new €3m (£2.6m) site in Leeds for its dismantling workshop, bringing to 16 the number of separate workshops it will have in the UK by the end of this year.
The renamed – and renamed again, to Consolidated William Cook Rail – site is designed to support the expansion of the company, which has consolidated its Hounslow site in London into Leeds, bought older assets from the collapsing Ascot aero-decks and licensed its top line designs to BIM to give it increased industrial scale to make bespoke train sets on a global scale.
Leeds had only previously been known as Churchill Yard, and when it opened in December last year was promoted by the Premier Oil boss Tony Hayward as the “port of last resort” for the oil and gas industry. The Essex-based entrepreneur helped to secure nearly £400m in UK government investments in railway infrastructure and has invested more than £500m in railways in the UK in the past 15 years.
Longer term, Birmingham will also be one of the site’s main customers, after a £300m investment in HS2 last year.
The previous site, in a five-storey industrial building in Cockfosters, west London, was virtually obsolete when it was sold to William Cook, a well-known brand name in the European field, in 2014.
The internationalised restructuring also has included several “process consolidation” such as its set of 17 UK manufacturing plants, its servicing base for locomotives and carrying operations.
Of the six areas that had been housed in the Cockfosters site, only the quality service team is still at home.
The reinvigorated facility will initially only handle the reconfiguration of the Centenary Old Derbyshire Park service, one of London’s oldest train sets and originally built in 1971, but will also support the end of operations this year for the distinctive Robert Stephenson locomotive and roll-on roll-off consignment service.