PLANS for a new £70million state-of-the-art train depot near Manningtree have been unveiled by rail bosses.

The former Wardle Storeys/ICI site in Factory Lane, Brantham, will be used to maintain 20 brand new train units set be introduced in East Anglia from 2019.

Abellio Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles made the announcement at the derelict chemical works site in Brantham on Friday.

The plans will see the creation of between 30 and 100 jobs.

The former Wardle Storeys site, which is split into two sections and is separated by the railway route to London, will be developed as part of Abellio's new long-term franchise, which runs until 2025.

Design work and construction for the depot starts this month and the site is due to be cleared in March with building beginning in the summer.

Mr Burles said: "These are exciting plans which are integral to our commitment to improve and transform the railway in East Anglia.

"Providing a depot at Manningtree will enable us to bring in our ambitious new timetable with more frequent trains and reduced journey times.

"It also reduces the amount of time that trains are out of service on maintenance."

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge welcomed the plans.

He said: "I'm delighted that Abellio has chosen to make a significant commitment to the local economy.

"The Brantham industrial site has been largely derelict and decaying for many years and it was perhaps therefore understandable that local residents were sceptical if Babergh's plan to regenerate the site would ever deliver new high quality commercial occupants."

The project, which will be completed by December 2018, will include 13 tracks where trains can be parked overnight for cleaning and maintenance.

Two further tracks will be undercover in a 300-metre shed, with full under-train inspection pits and cranes.

The 22-acre site will also include a wheel lathe for repairs, helping to minimise the length of time trains are out of service, especially in autumn when slippery conditions damage wheels.

The St Francis Group, which owned the site, has permission for a hybrid planning application to regenerate part of the existing industrial estate and develop 320 homes on adjoining land.

Simon Barrett, portfolio holder for business growth at Babergh Council, said: "This is great news for the district. The industrial site has already been identified as a key employment site by Babergh and this shows that this vision is becoming a reality.

"Bringing this brownfield site back into use will help provide growth and the jobs that the district needs."

The design and building of the depot will be carried out by contractor Taylor Woodrow.