Victoria Station Upgrade

On Tuesday morning I visited the Victoria Station Upgrade project in London to do annual reviews with two trainees working toward their Chartered Professional Review for full corporate membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers.  They are two great candidates one male and one female doing equal roles on site and both are aiming to sit their reviews in the Autumn of this year.

After the reviews I was given a tour of part of the worksite and it was great to see how much the works have progressed since I was last there a few months ago.

The works are basically to reduce the congestion at Victoria Underground Station which is one of the busiest and most congested on the network.  This being done by enlarging the existing Southern Ticket Hall just outside the Network Rail station, constructing a new Northern Ticket Hall beneath Bressenden Place, and constructing a network of new passageways, escalators and lifts to connect it all together.

3D layout of the enlarged station showing the existing and new areas.
3D Engineering illustration of the new structures and tunnels

You can find out more about the project at the Transport for London project page.  There is also an interesting article on the cutting edge use of 3D modelling and visualization (aka BIM) being used at Victoria on this ICE Case Study page.  The works are being carried out by a Joint Venture partnership between Taylor Woodrow (part of the Vinci Group) and BAM.

The works are progressing really well and much of the heavy civil engineering work is nearing completion.  The South Ticket Hall Extension is structurally complete and building and fit-out has commenced.  Tunnelling work has also started to form the escalator decline down to the new main passenger access link.

Looking down on the Southern Ticket Hall extension from the site offices

The jet grouting was completed some time ago which allows the remaining tunnels to be excavated and constructed.  Jet grouting was required to stiffen and solidify the poor water-logged ground to permit tunnels to be dug through it and this was an considerable undertaking in its own right.  More on this can be found on the this VCUK news page.

This Christmas saw an important milestone reached on the main passenger access link.  Closure of the railway over Christmas allowed the concrete roof slab for the tunnel under the District and Circle lines to be constructed.  The rails and ballast had to be taken up, the slab dug out, reinfoced and concreted (and hardened) before the ballast and rails went back down to re-open the railway.  All went without a hitch I’m told.

Much of the current work is centred around the new Northern Ticket Hall.  The structure is/was being constructed top down with the roof slab supported on temporary ‘plunge columns’ embedded in large concrete piles.  This means that even though the traffic is running in Bressenden Place supported by the roof slab the civils guys on site are only now finishing off the bottom level slab.

Looking down through the ground level ‘mole hole’
Civils guys constructing the base slab. This is where the escalators too will go – you can see the slope on the reinforcing bars heading to the right of the photo
Lots of organised activity in a small space constructing the base slab

The beauty of top down construction means that follow on works can take place on upper levels while civils work is still going on below.  This is what is currently happening with building and fit-out – and even Mechanical and Electrical works – taking place on the upper levels of the box.

A completed plant room just needing decorating before handing over to the M&E crews
One of the large pieces of M&E equipment brought in early due to its size / weight protected and waiting for installation when the room is finished.

One of the things I was particularly impressed with when touring the North Ticket Hall was how tidy and ordered everything was bearing in mind the number of different activities and subcontractors working and how much plant and material they need to progress.  This included delineated walking routes and briefing areas and all the elements that are needed to facilitate doing the work rather than the direct task related stuff.  Bravo I say.

One of the safety / quality / briefing areas in the middle level building and fit-out areas

Back at ground level we headed back to the site offices passing an area I have seen before at an earlier stage of the works but which is incredibly complex.  In this location a shallow passenger access link is needed which passes directly under the end of a block of buildings that whilst un-occupied still has to remain.  The only option is to hold the upper storeys up while the link is constructed underneath from the ground level. Sounds simple but believe me it isn’t – see the photo below!

Substantial and complex temporary steelwork supporting and restraining the building above whilst the link is constructed below.

I was mightily impressed with the works that I saw at Victoria and this is testament to the skill and diligence of all those people involved.

I would like to express my thanks to Transport for London and the Taylor Woodrow / BAM Joint Venture contractors for allowing me to publish this blog.





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