Construction work on the new Crossrail Station at Paddington is gathering pace. I stopped by recently when passing through London to take some up-to-date photos on what progress is being made.
The first tunnel boring machine (TBM) named Ada has set off on its journey under the heart of London to dig the first of many tunnels forming the new Crossrail system. It has started at the Royal Oak Portal in West London and is steaming(?) toward Paddington on its way to Farringdon. This gives new impetus to the works to build the new station at Paddington as there is some significant work to get finished before the Ada arrives there.
Assuming the philosophy remains true, the piles and diaphragm walls (DWalls) forming the long sides and ends of the new station box – circa 240m long and 35m wide – need to be in place before Ada and then Phylis arrive there. As such the works need to get a bit of a wiggle on.
Hoardings are now up although in many places it is still solid panel temporary hoardings rather than more permanent timber hoardings, and some preliminary works are being undertaken. The old canopy appears to still be in place over departures road but railings have come down (some listed) and preparations are being made for installation of the piles and DWalls.
The most obvious development is the installation of the bentonite farm at the west end of the site – outside the footprint of the new station. Bentonite is a clay which when mixed with water and chemicals forms a slurry that is used to stop the sides of piles and DWall panels falling in between digging the ground out and pouring the concrete in. You can read about DWall installation on Bachy Soletanche’s website here and on previous blogs of mine – A large amount of DWall is currently being istalled at the London Gateway Port site. Read here.
The liquid bentonite used in the process needs to be mixed, stored before use, stored after use, and de-sanded (cleaned) before re-use. A large number of bright orange silos have been erected in the bentonite farm along with de-sanding plant, pumps, pipes and offices. All this in preparation to support two or three DWall installation teams which will soon be roaring into action. One team looks to have mobilised but is yet to start work.
Otherwise there is little activity on permanent works to be seen but I am sure that will change in the very near future.
Included below are a selection of the pictures I took which all open to bigger versions on clicking. An album of 39 photos can also be found on my Picasaweb photo sharing site here.