Londoners were given a glimpse of the future yesterday when images were released of a full size mock-up of a below ground Crossrail platform. The mock-up has been built to help Crossrail understand how the designs for the new platforms will look and feel in real life and to decide whether any design modifications need to be made before main construction of the stations begins later this year.
New Crossrail stations will be built along the central route of the line at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf. It is critical that Crossrail gets the internal design of stations right as the new stations have been designed to last for the next century. It will also help Crossrail to make the right decisions concerning inclusive design features to improve services for Crossrail passengers with restricted mobility or those with visual and hearing impairments.
Around 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year and the route will provide a 10% increase to rail capacity in the capital. The new stations need to cope with large numbers of passengers throughout their life, be easy to navigate and able to endure wear and tear. To create this transport legacy for London it is essential to ensure every fixture and component is fit for purpose, cost effective and built to last. The mock-up will help Crossrail to establish a consistent look and feel for the new below ground platforms and station areas, while allowing each station to retain an individual identity.
The mock-up is also being used to inform a number of other important design decisions, including platform signage to assist passengers entering and exiting trains, CCTV camera coverage and locations, lighting levels and platform acoustics. Having the mock up has already led the designers to consider locating the next train information displays above the platform edge doors to make them easier for passengers to read, rather than having to look along 250m platforms.
Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said: “Crossrail will boost the economy, generate thousands of jobs and mean faster, more comfortable journeys for huge numbers of passengers.
“But good rail journeys start and end in stations which meet passenger needs – that’s why this station design is an excellent way for designers to test whether they are providing the best layout and facilities before they build the real thing.”
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “Crossrail will change the face of public transport in the Capital forever and we need to check the station designs meet the high standards Londoners require, but also that the materials we use can withstand the rigours of being used by millions of passengers. Those tests mean that when work begins on the real McCoy later this year we can be confident we will be building the best possible Crossrail stations.”
Once the design and testing work with the station mock-up is complete later this year, Crossrail’s aspiration is to retain a section of the platform mock-up for future public display in London so that Londoners can experience first hand what travelling on Crossrail will be like.
Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan said: “The priority for Crossrail for the coming years will be the construction of the new stations and tunnels that will transform journeys across London and the south east from 2018 – but we also now need to give important consideration to the important final look and feel of stations. Making these decisions just before Crossrail opens in 2018 would be too late.
“Tens of millions of passengers will travel through the busiest Crossrail stations each year. The stations need to have surfaces that are able to cope with large numbers of passengers while also having an intuitive design and layout that is easy for people to navigate.”
Crossrail station platforms will be 250m in length to accommodate 200m trains that will pass through each station, as well as enabling longer 240m trains to operate in the future as passenger demand increases. The mock-up of the Crossrail platform section is life sized, measuring 20m in length, 10m in width, with a ceiling height of 5m above the platform-edge doors. It also contains a 4m long side-tunnel entrance providing entrance and exit.
The Crossrail mock-up platform has been built at VINCI’s Technology Centre in Leighton Buzzard, employing film set design techniques to replicate the feel of actual finishes without having to go to the expense of constructing a Crossrail platform area using solely traditional construction materials.
Film set design techniques used include creating light fittings made from painted plywood and spraying expanded foam onto wallpaper to create sprayed concrete lining for the tunnels. Real floor tiles and glass were used but the metal work is plywood coated in metal laminate to make it look like stainless steel.