Technical Director - Structural and Fire Engineering
The £50m facility is located alongside existing facilities next to Exeter St David’s Station and is part of a wider programme of improvements to increase rail capacity in the South West. The Exeter facility 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.
Exeter Train Depot
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.
We 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.
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