The other day – whilst passing through London in the daylight – I continued on my District Line tube train and stopped off in Whitechapel to see if I could see anything of the construction work going on in the area for the new Whitechapel Crossrail Station which will ultimately link the underground, overground and Crossrail in one place. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount I could see and the progress being made.
The design of the Station at Whitelchapel – by multidisciplinary consultancy BDP – is different from some of the other stations in that it has only a single ticket hall area rather than ticket halls at each end of the platforms. I guess this is due to a reduced number of passengers likely to use the station compared to some of the others or maybe just the arrangement of the area, or both, or neither!
As with some of the other Crossrail works I have blogged about, I know a fair bit about the works going on as I was in a team that tendered for the work. Hopefully I’m not saying anything I shouldn’t here and anyway most of it you could read on the web if you know where to look.
There are two main worksites at Whitechapel at the moment. One at Durward Street and one at Cambridge Heath Road. The Durward Street site is where the passengers will descent from ticket hall to platforms and boy is it a tight site. The site is bounded by the London Overground on one side and a school on the other and is barely wide enough to get the construction plant in to do the work.
To enable the work and to protect the adjacent railway a significant protection / access structure has been constructed over the railway and works are in progress to construct the lozenge shaped shaft (in plan) down to tunnel level. The shaft is being constructed using diaphragm walling techniques. The work is being carried out by the BBMV consortium made up of Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindal and Vinci. I couldn’t see much of the works at Durward street but snapped a couple of pics through the gate as below.
At the Cambridge Heath Road site another shaft is being installed – again using diaphragm wall techniques – but this time I believe to provide emergency access / egress and maybe for services / ventilation etc. The site is adjacent to the big Sainsbury’s in Whitechapel and their multi storey car park allows great views over the site. A selection of photos below.
Works at the Cambridge Heath Road are a little more advanced than at Durward Street as a previous contract saw the sinking of another one (or maybe two) access shafts to track level for tempoarary access to service the platform tunnel works (I think). This/these shafts were sunk using caisson techniques as they were of smaller diameters. A temporary – though still substantial – building is almost complete above these shafts to service the works at platform level.
I hung around for a while watching the works going on at the Cambridge Heath Road site and for such a small site it looked to be very well organised. They were concreteing one of the DWall panels while I was there – probably around 400m3 of concrete (60 odd concrete trucks) – so there were concrete trucks queuing up to discharge but the logistics were being handled very effectively. Well done chaps.
Anyway. Loads of further info on Crossrail’s website and a selection of the photos I took are included below. All open to larger versions in new windows on clicking. An album of photos can be found on my picasaweb site here along with photos of other interesting construction works going on at the mo.
If you are interested in civil engineering and construction – especially if you are a civil engineering student – I would definitely recommend stopping by and watching awhile – it is very interesting. If you enjoyed reading this post then leave me a comment to that effect.