Train Care Depot, Reading

Project: Train Care Depot, Reading

A key hub for the West of the UK, Reading Station currently handles approximately 50,000 passengers and 700 trains a day. With passenger numbers set to double by 2030, and with a year on year increase in freight business forecast, the redevelopment of the station area was essential to transforming the rail network and improving the journey of thousands of rail passengers.

A £895 million redevelopment programme began in 2011 and sees the construction of new platforms, passenger entrances and additional lines to equip the station for the future. As a result of building additional freight lines the pre-existing train care depot has had to be demolished and relocated north of the Great Western Main Line, to the west of Reading Station.

Opened in July 2013, the new £36m Train Care Depot was designed by Jacobs Engineering, one of the world’s largest engineering consultancies, and was constructed by leading rail engineering and construction company VolkerFitzPatrick.

Comprising a range of buildings, including the main train care shed, a train wash, administration building and plant and store rooms, the new depot provides stabling, servicing and maintenance facilities for all existing trains, and has been built to allow for additional train capacity; including the introduction of IEP(InterCity Express Programme) trains in the future.

Within the main train care shed Zehnder ZBN radiant heating panels have been installed to ensure a comfortable indoor working environment for the employees. Commenting on their installation, Stuart Lowe, Technical Director for Jacobs explains, “When designing the heating system for what is an extremely large space, our two key considerations were the thermal comfort of those working within the shed throughout the year, plus the need for an energy-efficient system to help keep heating costs down. Because radiant technology has a direct heating effect on the people and surfaces within the space, and does not require all the air within the building to be heated, it provided us with the ideal energy efficient and cost effective solution.”

In fact, thanks to the effects of direct heating the air temperature of a radiant heated space can be typically 3 degrees lower than that of a conventionally air heated one, whilst still achieving the same resultant temperature. This translates into significant energy savings and also helps reduces carbon emissions. Moreover, because hot air rises, heated air accumulates under the cold ceiling where it is wasted, whereas radiant panels are effective everywhere on the ground at all times, ensuring a uniform temperature distribution and pleasant working environment throughout a large commercial space.

From an installation perspective the practical nature of the radiant panels has also be advantageous. Using individual panel lengths of 3 m the Zehnder ZBN perfectly was suited the build. The shed is approximately 210 m in length so the use of the 3 m panels made the installation easily manageable. What’s more, as the apex of the roof is 10 m high the panels have simply been suspended on chains from the ceiling, at a height of 6 ½ to 7 m from the floor, to create a even surface from which to heat the space.

Lightweight and easy to install Zehnder ZBN radiant panels are modular in design and can be quickly connected by means of press fittings. Powder paint coated to prevent corrosion they require little or no maintenance, and so provide long-term peace of mind for both contractor and client.

With a final comment on the project Stuart Lowe of Jacobs adds, “Our experience of working with Zehnder has been positive. We have received a good level of service and technical support, and are confident the building will provide an energy-efficient heating solution for Network Rail, as well as a pleasant environment for their train care team.”