Progress At Farringdon

23 February 2011

The team behind the major remodelling of Farringdon Station, in central London, is so busy it has hardly had time to reflect on its efforts over Christmas and New Year, but the opportunity for a lengthy period of uninterrupted work was well and truly seized.

“We had two lengthy timeslots of 90 and 100 hours where we could work without either the London Underground or First Capital Connect trains running,” says Construction Director of the Costain/Laing O’Rourke joint venture, Daniel Powrie. “The team successfully completed a significant amount of critical work.”

The project – a £189million contract that includes lengthening the Network Rail platforms to take 12 car trains, refurbishing the existing listed station building, building a new station entrance at Turnmill Street, creating a new train shed roof and a new integrated ticket hall (ITH) for Crossrail and Thameslink services – took a major leap forward as most of the country was relaxing over the festive period.

One of the major achievements was the placing of 18 metre, 27t steel beams and associated columns for the ITH placed over the national rail lines.

Much of this steelwork was not only heavy but also very complicated and involved the use of a 600t crawler crane – something of a concern with so many residential properties around the site was the noise these operations would make. However, through the implementation of best practise methods noise levels were very carefully managed. The result? “Not a single complaint from the public over the entire festive period,” says Daniel.

A huge variety of work was tackled, both the demolition of old structures and construction of new ones. A heritage balustrade had to be carefully removed to allow work to be carried out on the station’s concourse. A new gateline was installed at the station side entrance in Turnmill Street, and the installation of trackside foundations for emergency stairs was successfully completed.

One of the most obvious visible signs that work was progressing was the demolition of the Cowcross street bridge deck, which forms the street outside the station’s main entrance. The demolition of this bridge was critical to progress of the project and the achievement of 12 car functionality in December.

Normally, the team has to squeeze in whatever work adjacent to the rail lines is possible in the three to four hours or so that the Tube or First Capital Connect trains are not running overnight, together with weekend possessions. So the team made the most of its extended period of access.

 “We didn’t stop,” says Powrie. “And it was so well-planned that it went like clockwork and the entire team deserve a huge pat on the back for a brilliant effort and to cap it all we carried out over 50,000 man-hours without a single minor accident or injury.”