Since taking over the 135-acre site in 2021 and establishing the Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre, we’ve invested in local businesses, skills, the community and sustainability initiatives.
History of the site
In 1940, on the site where the Rail Innovation Centre exists today, the Ministry of Defence established the Royal Engineer's Supply Depot to store equipment during the Second World War, as well as creating training facilities and workshops. The Royal Engineers continued to use the site for storage and supply until 1999.
From 1948 until 1974 the site housed Polish Servicemen as part of a resettlement programme, and while the accommodation was closed in 1974, a chapel made for the Polish Community remained in use until 1999.
In 2004 St Modwen acquired the facility from the Defence Estates and much of the former Engineer Depot became the new community of Meon Vale. In 2021 Porterbrook acquired the rail facility, occupying 135 acres of the original depot.
Investing in jobs and skills
With access to key skills in the surrounding area and in an important location in the heart of the country, we’ve spent over £1 million with local Warwickshire businesses.
Amid significant change in the rail industry workforce over the next decade, Long Marston’s infrastructure and facilities are well placed to assist industry training and recruitment needs.
Exciting rail innovations, such as hybrid and hydrogen powered trains, are being developed and tested at the Rail Innovation Centre.
HydroFLEX, the UK’s first hydrogen-ready passenger train, was developed at the site before it was presented at COP26 in Glasgow to world leaders including HRH The Prince of Wales. Another key development extensively tested at the site was HybridFLEX, the UK’s first 100mph capable battery-diesel hybrid train.
We’re also working with Network Rail and other local nature organisations to support their work in the Midlands to protect habitats and open up wildlife corridors.
We’re committed to supporting the community local to our sites. We partner with the charity Primary Engineer - an organisation that aims to encourage more young people to consider careers in STEM-related professions.
As part of our partnership, we are funding the project for 10 schools in the Long Marston area.