Feltham Depot shot at night lit up

Feltham depot

In August 2019, VolkerFitzpatrick was appointed as the design and build contractor to build the depot on the old Feltham marshalling yard in South West London. Feltham depot was developed as part of Network Rail’s Feltham Re-Signalling Scheme ready for the launch of the revised South Western Railway passenger train timetable. The increased frequency meant that the depot would need to provide additional stabling capacity and state-of-the art facilities for up to ten trains.

The new depot

The team constructed a 4km of bi-direction (arrival/departure) track, 10 roads and aprons, an automatic vehicle inspection system and installed a third rail 750kV DC conductor rail system throughout the depot. Modern welfare facilities were also created for a range of support staff including drivers, guards and train presentation teams. The specialist servicing equipment and accommodation buildings were constructed to incorporate sustainable technology, to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent. 

 The new facilities have provided benefits to South Western Railway, who has seen a reduction in turn round time, leading to better reliability and punctuality for its customers.

The process

The former brownfield site went through considerable changes with a third of the vast site – 43,105m2 (11 acres) – brought back into use.

In 2020, the team completed new cabling and track connections, with the assistance of its sister company, VolkerRail. Over a May bank holiday, the works were carried out to link the western and eastern parts of Feltham depot to the mainline infrastructure, before the new trains arrived into service later in the year.

Major reprogramming and resequencing exercises on both the mainline and depot sites were required because of three large Thames Water Assets dissecting the centre of the depot compound. Despite several challenges and working through the COVID pandemic, the works were completed ready for the timetable change.


The team enhanced the project through different technologies to drive improvements and reduce risks. 

A range of technologies

The innovations created for the project resulted in cost savings, better community engagement, reduced environmental impact and day-to-day work efficiencies.  These included:

  • A community engagement app
  • 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
  • Pix4D modelling
  • Drone surveys
  • Hyrde Smart Camera System
Hyrde Smart Camera System

The team identified that there was a need to automate record keeping data and safety and production information. A real-time innovative solution, merging ‘off the shelf’ CCTV cameras, Internet of Things (IOT) sensors and tools, and bespoke artificial intelligent (AI) software, was developed to improve monitoring and alert management. This technology enabled the team to improve decision making, site security, health and safety compliance, quality assurance of works, managing deliveries, and more.


Drone surveys

The depot project was pioneering in its use of drone technology and Pix4D modelling software, to collect up-to-date and accurate site information, to build 3D models of the site. The benefits included mitigating programme delays, aiding deconflictions in daily meetings, and allowing comprehensive materials management plans. These digital surveys saved weeks of work and cost 20 times less than traditional methods on the same scale. It has since been rolled out to other projects and other VolkerWessels UK companies.

Community benefits

Discover how our team integrated into the community and created a lasting legacy. 

Engagement app

To ensure good engagement with the local community - a key project objective - the project team launched VolkerWessels UK’s first community engagement app. It provided information on the project, community involvement, details of upcoming work and project news. The app also allowed locals to submit queries, which could be reviewed in real time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the app helped minimise contact through letter drops. This proved a huge step forward in community engagement, allowing the team to build a strong network with residents with quick and easy communications. This app has been rolled out on other sites where it has also proved beneficial. 

Leaving a legacy

The new depot has provided lasting benefits with more jobs available to the local community as the improved travel network provides better access to work further afield. While working in the area, the team strategically drove business towards local suppliers, worked with local charities, forged good relations with local businesses, and supported educational establishments. The charitable team organised food bank donations, supported a domestic violence charity furnish a home, and raised over £12,000 for Children with Cancer UK with a Three Peaks Challenge. The team also presented at West Thames College, and donated timber to the Useful Wood company which became benches for the local Railway club. 

"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."

Alex Foulds Major projects director at South Western Railway