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12 October 2013, 04:00
Train fanatics are getting the chance to have a behind-the-scenes look at a major depot in Southampton today.
It's as Siemens and The South West Trains - Network Rail Alliance celebrate 10 years in partnership.
Entrance to the Northam Traincare Facility 'Whistle Stop Tour' open day is free with activities, demonstrations and experiences for all the family to enjoy. Siemens employees will be hosting stalls, a cake sale, raffle and steam train ride on the day to raise money for the south east branch of the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association. This is a charity close to the hearts of the rail technicians based at Northam, following the diagnosis of one of their colleagues with the progressive disease earlier this year.
The open day will showcase the technology and dedicated maintenance team behind the 172-strong fleet of South West Trains operated Siemens Desiro Class 444 and 450 trains based at Northam, along with upcoming improvements to the fleet such as CCTV and Wi-Fi.
Steve Walker, South West Trains Fleet Director at Siemens, said:
"We opened our doors for the first time last year and received a great response from those that joined us. Our 10 year anniversary seemed like an excellent opportunity to invite even more people to see how much work and preparation goes into ensuring that our trains are safe, clean, well maintained and comfortable for rail passengers.
"I'm sure that people frequently pass by and wonder what goes on behind the depot gates. Now they have a perfect opportunity to see for themselves, enjoy a great family day out and help raise money for a worthy cause close to our hearts at the same time."
Christian Roth, Engineering Director for the South West Trains - Network Rail Alliance said:
"We're pleased to be partnering with Siemens on this event. As we continue to invest and improve on our technology and trains, the work we do with Siemens at Northam - one of the major maintenance facilities on our network - is vital to helping us provide a better service to our passengers both now and in the future."
Pamela Fry, Regional Fundraiser at the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association added:
"It's great news that our charity has been chosen to benefit from the open day. We currently support around 40 people and their families affected by motor neurone disease in the south east, including a member of the maintenance staff for Siemens. We look forward to joining staff from Siemens and South West Trains to welcome as many people to this unique event as possible."
In addition to other on-site activities, visitors will be able to walk underneath a train, watch wheels being 'turned' (to eliminate any imperfections), and have the opportunity to sit in a driver's cab. Experts will be on hand to highlight different features on the trains, provide more technical insight and answer any questions.
The event is open to all and runs from 10:00 to 17:00, with last entry at 16:00. Access to the vast majority of the depot is on a level surface, however space for wheelchairs and pushchairs may be limited in some areas. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.