Power plan for London’s Neasden Depot

When it was decided that one of London Underground’s most critical outposts was to be updated, it needed reliable generators to power the accommodation facilities for an on-site workforce numbering 150. Located in north-west London, Neasden Depot is the largest on the network, predominantly serving the Metropolitan Line by servicing, repairing, inspecting and storing its rolling stock.

The project, which could take five years, will modernise the original layout of the depot which dates back to the 1930s. It will include new lifting and maintenance facilities, additional berthing capacity, wheel inspection and repair, and the relocation of the training centre to the northern end of the site. The new generation of S-stock trains will be supported with extra facilities.

Involving complex engineering work, the upgrade will take place whilst the depot continues to perform its services, preventing delays and ensuring that passengers keep moving. Strict project deadlines and the need to remain fully operational have meant the workforce is on site for long periods, often throughout the night. Temporary accommodation for them – offices, canteen, washrooms and the like – is obviously needed.

Reliable and robust generators were vital to power the living quarters and ensure both the offices and personal facilities were always accessible. Due to the shift work patterns, it was essential that the generators could run uninterrupted for long periods so that the facilities would remain powered to support the constant flow of workers.

Back in August, the project contractors decided to upgrade the generators that were already on site and contacted equipment rental company A-Plant. Whilst other products were considered, it was a pair of ArcGen Hilta’s 200kVA Denyo generators that was selected.

Best placed product

ArcGen Hilta offers a range of Network Rail-approved products including weldmakers and lighting towers. The company’s 200kVA generators are renowned for their superior built quality, reliability and durability. Designed and assembled with the latest technology, they are optimised for a range of applications and function in all climatic conditions. Joe Magri, Sales Executive for A-Plant recalls that “After considering a range of products, we felt that the ArcGen Hilta 200kVA Denyo generator was best placed to meet the on-site needs due to its continuous operation for long periods of time and fuel economy.”

As a result of the short timescales and to prevent site delays, ArcGen Hilta worked with A-Plant to make sure the generators arrived on site and were established within two weeks of the order being placed. The compact yet robust design with its reinforced lifting rod allowed the generators to be easily transported and positioned.

Their highly efficient diesel engine provides 8-16 hours of continuous operation and reduces fuel consumption by 25%, precluding the need for constant refuelling whilst cutting costs. Another site requirement was that the generators had to be synchronised with one another. In the event of one unit failing, the second would automatically start up to prevent site down-time.

Partnership approach

To ensure compliance with detailed legislation, ArcGen Hilta technicians worked alongside A-Plant’s team to oversee the preparation and installation. This involved sourcing schematics and technical information to change the data configuration of the generators and ensure that the technological synchronisation system could revert to an auto-mains failure unit that could be operated manually.

“Even though the project is still in its infancy, I’ve been very impressed with the initial site reports on the efficiency and reliability of the machines” concludes Joe Magri. “A-Plant has worked together with ArcGen Hilta for a number of years and it was great to have their assistance and support on this project.”

The two companies are currently working with the contractors, looking to extend and roll out additional products on site.


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