It is full steam ahead for an industry that a Hampshire town once thought had departed for ever.

Seven years ago Eastleigh Railway Works closed, bringing to an end a century of work at the Campbell Road site.

But the industry has been making a comeback, for with the announcement that Arlington Fleet Services Ltd is expanding its operation to 325,000 sq ft, the once deserted Eastleigh works is now almost fully occupied.

The company is the principal occupier of the 47-acre site owned by Key Property Investments – a 50/50 joint venture between St Modwen and Salhia Real Estate.

It has successfully re-established Eastleigh works as an important job centre focused on rail related businesses.

Today it offers high-quality engineering facilities with more than a mile of railway track inside the main works building and cranes that are capable of lifting up to 50 tonnes.

The firm has also announced it is extending its lease to the end of 2019, securing the longer-term operation of engineering services, including storage, servicing, maintenance and repair of railway traction and rolling stock.

Managing director Barry Stephens said: “Eastleigh works is a unique offer in the UK rail industry with the provision of managed workshop facilities creating a large-scale open-access railway engineering centre. It is an excellent site to develop our business and we welcome the support of St Modwen in assisting us to grow our operation.”

St Modwen development director Nick Kay said: “We believe it is vital to build a close working relationship with all our occupiers and are pleased to support the expansion of Arlington Fleet Services Ltd as the company continues to go from strength to strength.

“To see the works vibrant and active bears testimony to St Modwen’s hands-on approach to asset management and ability to meet the needs of growing businesses.”

The works is located adjacent to Southampton Airport and in close proximity to Junction 5 of the M27.

It was built as a locomotive build and heavy repair factory in 1909 and was at the heart of railway engineering in the south of England for almost a century.