THE REGIONAL development centre of a leading rail operator could be based at Carlisle Railway Station, if the city council shows plans the greenlight.

Carlisle City Council has received an application to refurbish and redevelop a currently vacant building in the railway station.

In their application, Avanti West Coast reveals that the new facilities will serve as a regional development centre to train the company’s drivers and crew.

Natalie Whitehouse, head of learning and development at Avanti West Coast, said: “We’re committed to giving our staff the tools and training to deliver the best possible service and our plans to create a Regional Development Centre in Carlisle is the latest initiative as part of that, while utilising an empty space at one of our stations.

“Carlisle is a key hub on our route and ideally situated for our staff based in the north of England and Scotland to access operational, first aid and customer service training, and for new recruits to be inducted into the business.”

The building set to be redeveloped is located at the far North-West end of platforms one and three.

As agent, Strzala Architects have been appointed by Avanti West Coast Limited to provide designs and construction information for the development of regional training facilities at a number of stations across the network.

Development facilities, such as the one planned for Carlisle, will include two to three training rooms, break-out spaces, toilets and kitchenettes and a communications room to hold IT equipment.

A non-structural reconfiguration of the layout will be needed as well as the installation of a folding partition wall.

Carlisle Railway Station’s buildings are Grade-II listed assets but in the proposals, Avanti has said that care will be taken to ensure alternations match the original look and feel of the building.

They said: “It has been shown that this application will not harm the heritage asset, but seeks to preserve it by facilitating use of a currently unused and increasingly dilapidated space within the station.”