Construction contractor Hochtief (UK) has secured a deal to build Great Western Railway’s (GWR) new rail maintenance depot in Exeter.

Work on the £40m depot project is expected to commence this year and is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

Hochtief (UK) managing director Lawrence Jackson said: “The project will provide local employment and training through apprenticeships to provide a legacy from the construction work, and the project team will liaise with local schools and colleges to inspire the next generation of construction workers.”

The new depot’s construction forms part of GWR’s wider upgrade programme, which aims to increase rail capacity across South West England.

"This depot will allow us to expand the regional train fleet at Exeter, providing more carriages and more frequent services to the area."

The initiative will also involve the introduction of new and refurbished trains, as well as various station improvements.

In addition, GWR is expanding the existing Exeter Olds View Depot as part of a collaboration with Network Rail and the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT).

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The development is expected to help the train operator accommodate a larger fleet in the Devon and Cornwall regions in order to facilitate an increase in the frequency of services and provide more seats for passengers.

GWR West regional development manager Matt Barnes said: “With brand-new electric trains in operation on suburban London services and bi-mode Intercity Express Trains coming to the mainline in Devon and Cornwall this summer, this depot will allow us to expand the regional train fleet at Exeter, providing more carriages and more frequent services to the area.”

The new depot is planned to be situated alongside existing facilities adjacent to Exeter St. Davids station, and will be used to provide modern servicing, cleaning and maintenance services to the operating trains.

The construction plan also includes the addition of office and welfare facilities for staff at the site.