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We were tasked with ensuring that a state-of-the-art service and maintenance facility for Stoke Gifford Rail Depot’s new rolling stock remains flood-free and that local watercourses and surrounding land are protected from contaminated floodwater.

Construction of the facility began in 2013 and was completed in 2015.


A short distance from Bristol Parkway Station, Stoke Gifford Rail Depot 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 start operating from early 2016. For the next 27 years at least, it will serve as a crucial maintenance facility for Hitachi Rail Europe’s service delivery operations.

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. An office and staff accommodation have also been constructed.

SDS Case Studies Stoke Gifford


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

This GEOlight® “SuDS” installation comprises of a network of attenuation tanks, along with associated piping and flow control devices. It has the capacity to capture up to seven 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.


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, the installation was completed and any residual materials were removed from site, all on the same day.

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

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


million litres surface water runoff storage capacity


year min service period


billion pound rail development

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.

Nico Wessels, Site Manager, VolkerFitzpatrick

Download the full case study here

SDS GEOlight Stormwater Storage

SDS GEOlight®

SDS GEOlight® is an ultra-lightweight honeycombed modular structure, the ready to install units are preformed to provide an underground stormwater storage facility, for the application of stromwater management.

SDS GEOlight® is an ideal material for cost efficient and maintainable underground water storage during storm conditions. It is constructed entirely from post-consumer recycled PVC waste, which is normally destined for landfill.

It can also be applied in many different ways, including water recycling, water pollution control and embankment protection.


Discover how the SDS portfolio can benefit your development and get in touch now.