Scotland’s new fleet of Japanese super-trains is set to create around 50 jobs at a new stabling and cleaning depot at Millerhill.
The depot will be built at the former rail marshalling yard which is already used as a base for track maintenance operations.
It will house the new Class 385 trains being built by Hitachi as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP), which will electrify the main Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk High line.
Midlothian Council has given planning permission for a new main building as well as a 190-metre-long train wash shed and other facilities, setting the seal on moves to revive Millerhill’s role as a significant centre of rail activity.
Last year, Network Rail backed down on plans to move track engineering and maintenance functions from Millerhill to Carlisle, saving 40 jobs.
The first trains in ScotRail’s new 70-strong fleet of Hitachi electric trains are due to start running on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow route – Scotland’s busiest – from autumn next year; on the Edinburgh-North Berwick/Dunbar line from spring 2018; and later between Edinburgh-Dunblane/Stirling.
The trains are being built at the company’s specially constructed new assembly plant at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. A total of 24 will be in service by December 2017 on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line with the remaining 46 delivered by December 2018.
A ScotRail Alliance spokesman said: “The new Millerhill stabling facility, along with the wider EGIP electrification work, will play a key role in delivering our new fleet of faster, longer and greener trains for customers.
“We are still in the early stages of planning the new facility, which won’t be operational until 2017, and will make further information available as the project progresses.”
The Millerhill marshalling yard opened in 1962 and closed in 1983. The council said the site was a “well-established development in the landscape”.
Mick Hogg, regional organiser of the rail union RMT, said the development would create around 50 jobs on the cleaning side, and he welcomed the move on the back of Network Rail’s decision to continue using the site as a base for track maintenance.
He said: “We conducted a robust campaign against Network Rail pulling out and staff being made redundant, and we managed to convince them to ensure Millerhill remains open as a local distribution centre.
“And now ScotRail plan to use Millerhill as a stabling point for the new Hitachi rolling stock and also the location where the trains will be cleaned.
“It’s all good, positive stuff which re-establishes Millerhill as a robust location with a lot of railway activity.”