Hitachi Rail engineers have helped transform an auctioned-off pacer train into a unique library for a local primary school.
Hitachi Rail engineers based at Newton Aycliffe answered a call for help from Kirk Merrington Primary School in Spennymoor to transform the auctioned-off pacer train.
In 2019, the primary school appealed to the local community for help after a surge in pupil numbers meant the school had outgrown its existing facilities. School staff devised an ambitious plan to repurpose their current library into an additional classroom, whilst launching a fundraiser to purchase a disused Pacer train in which they could convert into a unique learning environment.
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The school’s bid for the decommissioned unit was successful, and volunteers from Network Rail worked to install track, sleepers and ballast for the Pacer train to sit on.
Once in place, the carriage still needed a lot of work in order to be a safe environment for pupils. Hitachi Rail engineers heard about the project from a colleague who had a child attending Kirk Merrington and decided to lend a hand.
Four members of the Hitachi Rail team worked for two weeks to fully strip out the train, before other Hitachi Rail employees worked on making the carriage safe for use as a library.
Steven Hall, Senior Section Leader at Newton Aycliffe, was one of those who contributed. He said: “It’s invaluable being involved in the community like we are up here at Newton Aycliffe. The school have been so thankful for the community coming together to help them out.
“For us specifically, it’s been fantastic to support such a unique local project that will provide the children at Kirk Merrington with a fun environment in which to read and learn.”
The Hitachi Rail engineers were in attendance for the official opening of the primary school’s all-new learning environment and library in March. The event celebrated two years of hard work and was well attended by the local community.