A glimpse into the future was provided in March when images were released of Crossrail’s full-size mock-up of a below-ground 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 modifications need to be made before main construction of the stations begin later this year.
Specialist Merson Signs is the company behind the new signage, having developed, manufactured and installed them for the mock-up. Wayfinding and wall-mounted signs, integrated line diagrams and a large curved lightbox for the tunnel wall were all included in Merson’s scope.
The platform mock-up is being used to inform a number of important design decisions, including optimising the platform signage to assist passengers during train entry and egress. Studies of the mock-up have led the designers to consider locating the ‘next train’ information displays above the platform-edge doors rather than perpendicular to the platforms at long intervals, their closer proximity making them easier for passengers to read.
To assist the design process, Merson manufactured the 18x3m curved Lightbox with special dimmable lighting gear to allow different illumination levels to be assessed. This will ensure that signage sits comfortably and effectively within the platform environment without becoming overpowering.
Major rail infrastructure projects such as Crossrail require robust products with extended design life so they can serve passengers for many decades to come. In addition, with Crossrail stations forecast to serve 200 million passengers every year, the provision of effective, accessible and legible wayfinding is of paramount importance. All of these factors were considered by Merson Signs during the development and production of their prototypes for the mock-up.
The findings and invaluable lessons learned from studies of this design tool will be used to ensure long-lasting and effective signage is implemented in the new Crossrail stations.