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SWR depot begins next major phase

Engineering work at South Western Railway’s (SWR) flagship £60m Feltham depot has proceeded onto the next significant phase ahead of the Class 701 train rollout.

The bank holiday weekend saw the preliminary phase of crucial new cabling and track connections put in place. 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 lockdown began, strict working guidelines have been enforced to ensure the safety of staff so engineering work was able to continue.

The depot will securely stable ten 10-car Class 701 trains, when the fleet is phased-in over the next few years, and provide up-to-date facilities for SWR’s drivers, guards, and train presentation teams to clean and maintain each train every night. Professional servicing and train washing equipment will also be fitted 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 £60m depot is part of SWR’s pledge 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 near a £1bn investment in more modern, quicker and dependable 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 11 acres site back into use following its closure in the later 1960s.

As part of SWR’s commitment to sustainability, Feltham is designed to meet BREEAM’s ‘excellent’ standard, an industry -wide benchmark recognizing projects which reduce energy usage, material waste and help protect the natural environment during construction.

First Group, SWR’s owners, has been working alongside 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.

Senior Project Manager (First Group), Errol Douglas, said: "We’re working hard to deliver this major engineering project, under carefully managed and safe conditions during the coronavirus lockdown, 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 this year), passengers and staff will experience the benefit of our £1bn investment."


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