When it becomes operational in 2007, the £400M Temple Mills train depot will connect directly to the high-speed line, doing away with the long journey across the national rail network to the North Pole depot at Acton, west London.
'We have designed the depot to get trains off the high-speed line, through the cleaning facility and into the shed in 18 minutes, ' says RLE Temple Mills project manager Adrian Shaw. This will halve time spent getting from garage to station.
The depot has been built on the site of an old depot for freight operator EWS in Leyton, 1.5km north of Stratford International station. Eurostars entering the site will have their toilets emptied, get a wash and move on for maintenance, either in the 400m long light maintenance shed or the smaller heavy maintenance shed - both simple prefabricated steel structures.
The site is 2.5km in length and 250m at its widest points, big enough to store 13 trains - half the Eurostar fleet. 'We had to slew the existing Lea Valley lines to the east of the site to create the space we needed, gaining an extra 15m in width, ' says Shaw.
Despite this, Shaw's team was unable to store much on site, requiring careful management of deliveries.
RLE was designer as well as main construction manager for the project. Design was 95% done before contractors were appointed, helping with logistics planning.
Contractors included Laing O'Rourke and Fitzpatrick for groundwork and infrastructure, Hollandia for steelwork, AMEC for installation of maintenance and electrical facilities and Balfour Beatty for signalling.
One of the biggest challenges was ground conditions. The site was prone to flooding so extensive drainage systems were needed, plus largescale remediation to clean contaminated soils. RLE started on site in October 2004, with the majority of construction work taking place in 2005.
Laying the 16.8km of track began towards the end of 2005 and carried on through this year.