This autumn, families and rail users are invited to a behind-the-scenes tour of Kings Heath Traincare depot and the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) in Northampton.
On Saturday 13 October, the two facilities will open their doors to the public as part of Rail Week 2018 and Government initiative ‘Year of Engineering’.
The events are hosted by Siemens and NTAR, in partnership with West Midlands Trains. It is the first time the public have been able to visit the sites since 2012.
Kings Heath depot is home to the Siemens Desiro Class 350 fleets, which operates London Northwestern Railway services to and from London Euston, Birmingham and Liverpool. The facility opened in 2006 and the trains are maintained by Siemens on site.
Visitors to Kings Heath will be able to see a train up on jacks, take a walk underneath a train in the maintenance pit and sit in a driver’s cab. They will also be able to learn about the technology involved in keeping the trains safe, reliable and comfortable for the travelling public.
In NTAR, visitors will get to grips with the latest rail equipment and technology that supports world-class training of rail apprentices, technicians and managers across the country, as well as find out about careers within the rail industry.
The day will also feature rides on the ‘Hydrogen Hero’. This is the first fully operating hydrogen train in the UK, which will be on display in partnership with The University of Birmingham.
The event is free via pre-booked tickets, but through voluntary donations, the event will be supporting to two local charities - Headway Northampton and Headlines Craniofacial Support. Both of these organisations have been nominated by Siemens employees.
Will Wilson, Managing Director of Rolling Stock at Siemens Mobility Limited, said: “Over the last eight years, Siemens has opened one of its train maintenance sites to the public as part of its very popular ‘Whistle Stop Tour’ series, giving adults and children an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the innovative work carried out at an operational rail depot to inspire them into careers within our industry.
"This event is only possible thanks to support from our customer West Midlands Trains and partner NTAR, and we are delighted to be working with them.”
Simon Rennie, General Manager of NTAR, said: “We are proud to be opening the doors of the National Training Academy for Rail to the public for the first time.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to not only showcase the latest rail equipment and technology involved in the training of rail apprentices, technicians and managers across the country, but provides a platform for us to engage with the next generation, ultimately helping us to attract top talent to the sector.”
Neil Bamford, Engineering Director for West Midlands Trains, said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Siemens to open up these facilities during this year’s Rail Week.
“We want to give the local community, and particularly our younger visitors, a real insight into the technology, innovation and expertise that’s involved in running a fleet of trains. With record levels of investment being made into the rail network, it’s really important that we inspire the next generation of railway employees. Over the coming years will need more people than ever to deliver on the planned improvements on the railway – so it is a great time to be supporting these events.”