Traverse | What’s behind the curtain at Farringdon station?

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The cobbled street leading to Farringdon station from Crossrail may not be yellow, nor brick for that matter, but there is a thrill of anticipation about the approach that akin to the legendary Wizard of Oz.

The peak behind the curtain was pretty disappointing for Dorothy and her motley team of buddies, but it’s a very different story in Farringdon.

Behind the metal railings that currently hide the sparkling new platforms from public view, the new station is an impressive feat.

Located 30 m underground, the station has large passenger platforms 244 m long.

The 12m diameter platform tunnels are accessed from the east and west ticket halls via an elegant central hall at each end, connecting the escalators to the platforms.

The consultant Aecom was appointed to carry out the technical design of the project, in collaboration with the architect Aedas.

Construction began in 2011 with the Laing O’Rourke Strabag (JV) joint venture carrying out pile and foundation work. The site was then taken over by Bam Ferrovial Kier JV in 2012 to deliver the main construction works.

The project was virtually completed in November 2020, with the station officially handed over to Transport for London (TfL) in March 2021 – the first of Crossrail’s central London stations to reach the surrender phase. Now, work to prepare the station for customers is continuing at a steady pace.

As the team watches the finish line, the station and platforms bustle with activity as staff familiarize themselves with the new facilities.

London Underground Operational Delivery Manager (ODM), Bill Welbank, explained that “the familiarization sessions take place during existing shifts and are very interactive.”

This familiarization phase is an opportunity to ask all the questions, rather than just evaluating the staff. The goal is for everyone to be “confident and competent,” Welbank added.

“We practice standard business processes – like turning escalators on and off, or opening and closing the station, to test assets and processes, and increase staff confidence – and we continue to repeat these exercises and train for them. make it as smooth as possible. possible, ”he said.

The familiarization phase at Farringdon – which began on September 6 – is expected to cover a period of five months. To date, almost half of the 208 agents at the station have started the “familiarization” process.

Lisa Knight, Senior Director of Operational Readiness for the London Underground, explained: “It’s mainly about making sure our people are ready…. “

In addition to the clean, slender lines of the platform tunnels, the design of the station entrance and ticket halls is equally striking.

Goldsmiths, hardware stores and blacksmiths – no, not lions, tigers and bears – are the inspiration for the station which is nestled between London’s cultural and financial hubs.

The West Ticket Office, located at the corner of Farringdon Road and Cowcross Street, has been partially open to commuters and already provides access from the Thameslink ticket office.

The design is inspired by the neighboring diamond and jewelry district. Over 100 diamond-shaped precast concrete slabs were installed to form the vaulted ceiling of the ticket office.

The ticket office is bordered by Charterhouse Street, Lindsey Street and Long Lane. The design references the neighboring Barbican Center, incorporating features such as stainless steel cladding and frosted glass panels.

The Elizabeth Line is currently scheduled to open in the first half of 2022, and 82,000 passengers are expected to use the new Farringdon station every day.

A thorough cleaning will be carried out prior to the official opening to ensure all areas of the resort are “sparkling clean” for guests, explained Knight.

But before the palisades are removed and the Elizabeth Line is fully operational, critical challenges loom on the horizon.

This month, work will be completed during a blockade across the project, which will give a better indication of when the railroad will be finished and open to the public. The blockade will involve the release of train and signaling software and other tunnel work.

The next phase of the project – test operations – is expected to start in November, subject to the successful deployment of the new ELR100 software and the completion of insurance work.

While he has no illusions about the work ahead for the larger Crossrail project, Knight insisted the Farringdon team remain excited about the impending opening.

“I think there is a sense of pride and belonging, as well as a concern to prepare and know what to expect. But it’s our job to help [staff] through this process, ”she said. “At the end of the day, I think there is a general enthusiasm and passion.”

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