A pioneering safety training centre for crews working on the multi-billion TransPennine Route Upgrade has been opened in Huddersfield.

Minister for Rail Huw Merriman officially opened the TransPennine Route Upgrade Safety Training (TRUST) Centre at the Ringway Centre in Beck Road on the edge of the town centre.

It’s the first purpose-built safety centre of its kind in the North of England and cost £2.7 million. 

Rail workers will experience simulations of real-life scenarios with actors playing out emergency situations.

There’s also a “rumbling floor” for recognising incoming trains from a distance and various other multi-sensory rooms.

Blending film and live drama, workers are taken into the heart of hard-hitting narratives, witnessing the actions, decisions and events which lead to a fatal incident on the rail tracks.

There are interactive workshops in various settings including hospital, home, canteen and police interview.

Mr Merriman said: “This is a major milestone for the TransPennine Route Upgrade. Not only is the programme creating greener and more reliable services across the North, but it’s now taking vital steps to create a well-trained and highly skilled workforce.

“Safety remains at the heart of our railways and this centre will ensure it’s in the mind of every member of staff working on the project too.”

Neil Holm, managing director of TransPennine Route Upgrade, said: “The opening of the ground-breaking TRUST centre embodies the ethos that safety sits at the heart of the TRU.

“We want to ensure that everybody gets home safe every day. As we work to bring cleaner, faster and better journeys between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York, the safety of our teams has never been more important.”

Clr Cathy Scott, acting leader of Kirklees Council, said: “One of the great assets for our economy here in Kirklees is our connectivity, and the TransPennine Route Upgrade will massively enhance this.

“But as well as providing a boost to our economy in the future, this huge project is providing work and opportunities for local people right now – and that’s only set to increase as work on the TRU ramps up over the coming years.

“Investment like this is about long-term benefit but long before we reach the end point of the upgrade we’ll see economic benefits and a skilled workforce for Kirklees.

“It’s fantastic to see that those delivering the TRU are being trained and upskilled using the latest technologies and, frankly, great creativity – and that the Minister of State for Transport is showing such a keen interest in this work, how it will affect our local area and local people.”

Sir John Harman, chairman of Huddersfield Unlimited, a business-led organisation that stands for the town of Huddersfield, also attended the launch.

He said: “Huddersfield lies at the centre of the TRU line, almost equi-distant from both Manchester and Leeds, therefore the town will certainly benefit from the upgrade, the largest rail investment in the North.

“Placing TRUST in the town, together with the required high use of local contractor services, brings highly desirable employment to Huddersfield and it is reassuring to know that all people engaged to provide the upgrade work will benefit from the employee safety and wellbeing TRUST will provide.”