17 July 2007

Laira Depot

Laira Railway Depot as seen in Google Earth

The depot is one of the company's busiest, with 259 staff cleaning, servicing and maintaining the firm's fleet of High Speed Trains.The Laira depot is one of seven operated by First Great Western including the Landore depot at Swansea, St Philip's Marsh at Bristol, Reading, Exeter, the Long Rock Depot at Penzance and the Old Oak Common Depot in London.Plymouth is one of First Great Western's specialist depots. As well as cleaning trains overnight, it also undertakes maintenance work for the First Great Western fleet and Virgin Voyager trains.

In the middle of the site, behind the large sheds, is a large pond. The pond, which is linked to the nearby River Plym, used to be overgrown but was first cleared of foliage by depot workers in the 1970s.A few years later, the company decided to make the pond part of a nature reserve and a team of staff was given the task of clearing the pond of rubbish and overgrown vegetation on a regular basis.A group of between eight and 10 workers now maintains the pond, which has managed to attract fish including mullet back into its waters.First Great Western's Laira depot manager Neil Reed said: "We work closely with Network Rail and our Environment Agency partners. The pond is now really well-established. Canadian geese come down every year to have their chicks; there are kingfishers and herons, too.

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