Not far from the south side of Heathrow, at Feltham, a new railway depot is being built, to increase capacity on the Waterloo to Reading and Windsor lines.
In addition to increasing capacity on the lines, SWR has the ambition to be able to run a more frequent “metro-style” service on the line between Windsor and Waterloo.
To do that though, they need more storage for a fleet of new trains, and thanks to a historical quirk, such a plot of land exists next to Feltham railway station. The sidings are being built on the disused Feltham Freight Marshalling Yard which were themselves a huge railway marshalling yard, that was built in 1916/18, aided by around 200 German prisoners of war.
However, with declining railway traffic at the time, the marshaling yard closed in January 1969. Fortunately, while some of the site was sold off, the rest of the land was never developed, and has always been technically classed as “railway operational”, even after it had long been returned to grassland.
Works have been underway for some months now, and the bank holiday weekend saw the initial phase of vital new cabling and track connections take place. Work is set to continue over the next few months to connect the eastern and western parts of Feltham to the mainline infrastructure in time for the arrival of the new trains.
The design of the new stabling facility is expected to include the provision of 10 of the new 10-car Class 701 trains that the company is ordering, although it could be used for other shorter trains as needed.
There’s a video flyover of the new depot here.