South Western Railway already benefiting from new depot at Feltham

South Western Railway (SWR) is already seeing the benefits of its new 10 car train depot at Feltham, which was constructed by VolkerFitzpatrick, following 18 months of extensive development work.

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The depot was built on the old Feltham marshalling yard in South West London, bringing a third of the vast site (11 acres) back into use, following its closure in the late-1960s.

Now operational, the new depot includes stabling facilities to accommodate up to ten trains, a carriage wash machine and a CETS, along with specialist servicing equipment and accommodation buildings. The new facilities are already providing benefits to SWR, who has seen a reduction in turn round time, leading to better reliability and punctuality for its customers.

As part of the project, VolkerFitzpatrick, working with sister company VolkerRail, constructed 4km of bi-directional (arrival/departure) track and installed a new signalling system. 

A third rail 750kV DC conductor rail system was also installed throughout the depot, and the specialist servicing equipment and accommodation buildings were constructed to incorporate sustainable technology, to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent.

Major reprogramming and resequencing exercises on both the mainline and depot sites were also required because of three large Thames Water Assets dissecting the centre of the depot compound.

Innovation has been key, with several new technologies being developed and implemented across the project to save time and money. These include:

  • A community engagement app
  • Hyrde Smart Camera system, to automate the data capturing for record keeping
  • Drone surveying and Pix4D modelling
  • LOLER equipment registering
  • Hydrogen fuel cell / solar cell technology to power CCTV cameras where mains voltage is not possible
  • A smart filtration technology to allow water to be discharged without contamination
  • A smart water Dustbuster solution to control and reduce fugitive dust during hot weather periods on site

Providing benefits to the local community was a fundamental part of this project’s success. This included developing a relationship with the Railway Club, hosting school engagement events at West Thames college, along with coffee mornings and site tours (pre COVID-19) for members of the public, and developing a relationship with local social enterprise, the Useful Wood company, to redistribute any redundant wood on site.

A charity event, which raised over £12,000 for the Children with Cancer UK charity, was also completed, along with food collections for local food banks, and furniture from the project house was donated to Su Mano Amiga, a local charity whose aim is to stop domestic violence in Latin and BAME communities.

Phil Wood, VolkerFitzpatrick senior project manager, said: “The commissioning of this depot makes me immensely proud of all who have been involved in the project. I have had the pleasure of working with the most fantastic team and would like to congratulate and thank everyone, including our brilliant supply chain. I would also like to thank First Group, SWR and Network Rail for their support throughout this journey.”

Alex Foulds, major projects director at SWR, said: “It has been a pleasure to work alongside VolkerFitzpatrick in developing this new, state-of-the-art depot. The depot has not only transformed a part of South West London that was formally derelict, but it is also set to transform the services we offer our customers.

“Feltham will become the new home for our £1bn Arterio fleet, with these brand new trains set to deliver more modern, faster and reliable services on what is one of Europe’s busiest rail networks.”

Once brought into service, the new depot will house SWR’s new Arterio train fleet, which will help to transform travel on the Reading, Windsor and West London suburban routes.