Exeter Train Depot

We were appointed by Great Western Rail to provide Design services to support them in their programme of improvements to increase rail capacity in the South West.  

The £50m facility is located alongside existing facilities next to Exeter St David’s Station. It consists of a number of buildings to maintain, service, clean, stable and prepare trains in addition to office and welfare facilities.   

The primary maintenance building contains a workshop area, two storey store area and a three-storey office/welfare area. The maintenance workshop area accommodates three roadways with service pits underneath each and associated fixed elevated gantries either side to allow access to various levels of the train. Other buildings for carriage washing, UFC changing, CET plant and other plant formed part of the overall works. 

The facility also provides accommodation for GWR's train crew operations staff alongside the depot team.  

Key details

Project name
Exeter Train Depot


Great Western Railway (GWR)

Exeter, England

Services provided:

- Fire engineering

- Architecture 

- Civil engineering 

- MEP engineering 

- CDM 

- BREEAM assessor 

- Acoustics / Noise 

- Geo-technical engineering 

- DSEAR assessment 


The maintenance depot is on a prominent site adjacent to Exeter St David's Station, therefore careful design considerations were taken regarding the site context and proximity of the new building to the Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed station and the river Exe. Careful planning to facilitate construction whilst minimising the impact to ongoing depot and station operations were key considerations in the design, coupled with the relocation of a culvert crossing site. 

Environmental factors required the office welfare areas to achieve a BREEAM 'Excellent' certification. 

Given the inherent nature of the facility there were a number of challenges in terms of fire safety in which the application of standard fire safety guidance could not be applied for a number of design elements.  Challenges faced included operations undertaken during normal servicing of trains within restricted maintenance pits along with extended travel distances given the linear nature of evacuation routes along trains and maintenance personnel located on high level gantries.    

Exeter train depot - project image.jpg


It's expected that the relocation of the existing train operations accommodation will help to facilitate future enhancements to the station and adjacent public areas. 

Together with our specialist sub-consultants (Signalling, P-way, Telecoms, System Engineers and Specialist Equipment), we engaged alongside GWR in an 'Early Contractor Involvement' process during a 2 stage tender procurement route to ensure best possible outcomes for the project. 

Our fire safety team prepared a detailed fire strategy report for the development and engaged with the design team, Network Rail and the approving authorities throughout the design development stages of the project. 

A number of fire engineered solutions were required for the facility to demonstrate the functional requirements of Part B of the Building Regulations. Some of the fire engineered solutions included advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling to demonstrate that tenable conditions could be maintained during the evacuation period. Given the bespoke internal arrangement associated with such facilities CFD modelling offered the only realistic technical approach to assessing the development and growth of fire and the spread of smoke throughout the space. 

Project statistics

project value
office building
maintenance roadways

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