The brand new Blackfriars National Rail Station in London is nearing completion. Built to replace an older facility, it will be the first railway to span the Thames and will provide a greater capacity for train services.
Balfour Beatty were awarded the contract to deliver the Blackfriars Station and Bridge Reconstruction Scheme, which is a vital part of the £5.5 billion government funded Thameslink investment managed by Network Rail. Jacobs & Tony Gee are the architects for the scheme, which is headed by Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Major Projects Division as part of an integrated Balfour Beatty Team.
The contract was split into two distinct phases. Stage One provided for the setting of an agreed target cost and timelines for the completion of the Stage Two major works. In addition, it covered a wide range of advanced works at and around the existing National Rail and underground stations, along with the railway bridge across the River Thames. The first step of Stage One – demolition – commenced in October 2008.
Stage Two commenced in 2009 and will deliver a new station that will have the capacity for 12 car trains and provide increased opportunities for more trains to stop at the station every hour.
The project will actually result in three new stations: the North Station, the South Station the Blackfriars Underground Station.
The North Station will have a new common entrance hall that will provide superior connections to the Tube. It is a curved glazed structure with a curved roof upon which 4,000 PV panels are mounted. The station will incorporate a ticket office, new platforms and escalators to the underground station. In addition, it will have a new roof over the entire platform length.
The South Station on the South Bank will provide better access to the Tate Modern and the surrounding area. Smaller in size than the North Station, it is the first station to be built on the South Bank for 120 years. It is an architecturally impressive building that features a glazed concourse and a concrete structure that supports the tracks above. The station will incorporate a ticket office and access to the four platforms. Part of the station will be opened in December 2012.
The redevelopment of the Blackfriars Underground Station is nearing completion and the station is scheduled to be open at the end of this year. The works have involved the construction of a steel shield structure over the track to enable the demolition of the station above, which has been completely rebuilt to modern standards and includes a ticket office and escalators down to the platforms.
The west side of the Blackfriars bridge has been strengthened and widened by approximately 6m. Three new rows of rib arches support a new bridge deck and two new terminating ‘bay’ platforms above, creating four platforms in all. Engineers built the bridge out to the west over one row of the remaining redundant piers from the former rail bridge. These new bay platforms will open in spring 2012.
The demolition works were particularly challenging due to the fact that the station is located on a very tight site between two buildings. This resulted in logistical challenges posed by site access and egress, as well as the demolition itself. So far all challenges have been overcome with minimum impact.
Materials required for the overall project have been transported by barges on the River Thames to avoid road congestion. It is estimated that around 14,000 tonnes of material was required in order to build the station’s new bridge, platforms and the roof spanning the river.
The overall project is due for completion in May 2012.
Blackfriars station first opened in 1886 as St Paul’s by London Chatham and Dover Railway. It was designed by John Wolfe-Barry and Henry Marc Brunel.Four years later, a new underground station was opened and the station was renamed Blackfriars by Southern Railway in 1937.
The entire stationwas modernised in the 1970s, with the exception of the destination wall, which has been preserved at the mainline station platform.
Blackfriars is now visited by more than 44,000 passengers a day and serves as a main terminus between Kent and South London.
The Thameslink Programme tackles overcrowding on some of the UK’s busiest routes and is to be completed in time for the Olympic Games.
ICL Solutions has worked on major construction projects over the last 11 years, providing CCTV, access control, biometrics and time and attendance systems tailored to individual project requirements. As an engineering focussed company, ICL prides itself in designing and supplying systems that fully meet the needs of its clients.
Working closely with Balfour Beatty’s team at Blackfriars, biometric access control systems were installed to deliver high security, with time and attendance accountability. On both CCTV and access control, a mixture of hard wire and wire free transmissions system were used to ensure delivery of service in a difficult working environment.
When Balfour required bespoke time and attendance monitoring at remote locations we designed portable clocking units, built specifically to deal with this. These units send all the data back via GSM to their central database.
ICL Solutions Managing Director Darren Elvin said: “Company relationships are very important to us and we pride ourselves on delivery of service.
“At ICL Solutions we don’t employ salesmen, we have engineers that design and specify and know how the kit works; which includes how it all goes together and what it will deliver.”
He added: “Sound advice and value for money are the key building blocks for lasting relationships.”