Case Studies

Stoke Gifford Rail Depot

Sustainable drainage systems keep train servicing centre flood risk free


To provide a state-of-the-art service and maintenance facility for new rolling stock.To ensure that the facility remains flood free and to protect the local watercourses and surrounding land from contaminated floodwater. Construction of the facility began in 2013 and will be completed in 2015.

The depot, which is a short distance from Bristol Parkway Station, will service up to 34 trains on the new Intercity Express electrified rail link between London and South Wales.

The site is part of a wider £5.7 billion development on the Great Western (GWR) and East Coast Mainlines and the depot will be operational from early 2016. It will serve as a crucial maintenance facility for Hitachi Rail Europe’s service delivery operations for at least the next 27 years.

The facility comprises a maintenance building with two full-length internal roads, stabling and servicing roads, a carriage wash plant and a wheel lathe building, as well as 20km of new track. Office and staff accommodation have also been constructed.

How it works

The SDS system protects the local watercourses and surrounding land from the risk of flooding and contamination.

This GEOlight® “SuDS” installation comprises a network of attenuation tanks, along with associated piping and flow control devices. It has the capacity to capture up to 7 million litres of excess surface water runoff from heavy and prolonged rainfall.

SDS worked in close collaboration with design and engineering consultants, Arup, and specialist contractor, VolkerFitzpatrick,  to design the most cost effective engineering solution for the project.

The total combined capacity of the GEOlight® tanks is approx. 7,000m3.



SDS was able to overcome the restrictions of an absence of storage space on site, compounded by a single point of site access, by using the location of its manufacturing facility to great advantage. Materials and equipment were produced and brought onto site, installation completed and any residual materials removed from site, all on the same day.

GWR’s very public move to a greener, cleaner and more reliable rail network has been evidenced in every decision it has taken and the appointment of SDS demonstrates the confidence both it and its contractors have vested, in an area of the country where flooding has generated extensive negative publicity.

geolight suds flood prevention pollution prevention ecological

Nico Wessels, Site Manager, VolkerFitzpatrick: “SDS played a crucial role in designing  a bespoke SuDS solution for this substantial development. As we continue to take on further rail development projects, we will be turning to SDS for their invaluable knowledge and expertise in this specialist and increasingly important sector.


This project has provided a blue-print for similar facilities being constructed in other areas of the UK’s railway network including at North Pole, London and Doncaster.

What our other Customers say

The installation of a system comprising a device of concrete construction, until now our only option, would have required the use of a 350 tonne crane and most likely, due to the massive inconvenience not just to us but to the airport and local road network, would not have been feasible at all. The Aqua-Swirl™’s versatility meant that we could design the devices for the specific requirements of this site, without the need for any bends in piping, whilst their inherent strength allowed us to save on time and cost through not requiring a concrete surround. Their compact size and small footprint, together with the lifting supports and straps provided, meant installation was very quick and simple and final placement could be done manually; we needed only a single day in which to dig, position, connect up and back fill.

Brian Fegan, Site Engineer, Whitemountain.

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