South Western Railway’s flagship £60m depot enters next phase of construction
Engineering works at South Western Railway’s (SWR) flagship £60 million Feltham depot have entered the next major phase ahead of the Class 701 train roll-out.
The initial phase of vital new cabling and track connections have recently taken place, and work is set to continue over the next few months to fully connect the eastern and western parts of Feltham to the mainline infrastructure, in time for the arrival of the new trains.
Since the beginning of the lockdown, strict working guidelines have been in place to ensure the safety of staff so engineering work could continue.
The depot will securely stable 10 ten-car Class 701 trains, when the fleet is phased-in over the next few years, and provide modern facilities for SWR’s drivers, guards, and train presentation teams to clean and maintain each train every night. Specialist servicing and train washing equipment will also be installed on site.
The project received funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) to install technology which automates shunting to provide a safer working environment and help quickly stable trains during significant periods of disruption.
The £60 million depot is part of SWR’s commitment to invest in a new fleet of trains in order to completely transform services offered to passengers travelling on the Reading, Windsor and West London suburban routes.
The new trains are a near-£1 billion investment in more modern, faster and reliable services for passengers travelling to and from London Waterloo station. Fitted with the latest technology, these new trains will help more passengers arrive on time in the morning and during evening peak periods on one of Europe’s busiest rail networks.
Built on the old Feltham marshalling yard in South West London, the investment brings a third of the vast site – 43,105m2 (11 acres) – back into use following its closure in the late-1960s.
As part of SWR’s commitment to sustainability, Feltham is designed to meet BREEAM’s ‘Excellent’ standard – an industry-wide benchmark recognising projects which reduce energy usage, material waste and help protect the natural environment during construction.
FirstGroup (SWR’s owners) has been working in partnership with Network Rail and VolkerFitzpatrick, one of the UK’s leading civil engineering companies, to help plan and manage the project as well as supply materials and engineering train services over the last three years.
Errol Douglas, Senior Project Manager at FirstGroup, said: “We’re working hard to deliver this major engineering project, under carefully managed and safe conditions during the coronavirus lockdow, as part of our plans to transform services for passengers. The next phase of works at Feltham depot is an important milestone in a three-year project which has dramatically transformed a part of South West London that was formerly derelict. Once complete (later in 2020), passengers and staff will experience the benefit of our £1 billion investment.”
Phil Wood, VolkerFitzpatrick Project Manager, said: “Our achievements to date are the result of the strong working relationship with Network Rail and SWR. This partnership, and the investment provided by Network Rail and the DfT, will help rejuvenate this once derelict area of South West London, will create future employment in the areas and will provide SWR with a state-of-the-art facility for their new fleet of Class 701 trains. As works progress in the coming weeks, our teams will continue to work tirelessly to guarantee key milestones are achieved while safeguarding the safety of all operatives.