The 2,000 tonne concrete structure was driven into place during the Bank Holiday weekend, following its construction on the land next to the station. In an operation that took only four days, Network Rail’s main contractor VolkerFitzpatrick removed the existing tracks and platforms and excavated the land underneath to create space for the subway. The subway was then driven into place using self-propelled modular transporters. The track and platforms were then rebuilt so that train services could run as normal on Tuesday.
The subway is part of a £25 million scheme to transform the station and deliver major improvements for Londoners and businesses in the surrounding area. It will provide access at ground level, north to south, beneath the existing railway line, and replace the footbridge which was taken out in early February. Network Rail is delivering the project as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan, on behalf of London Legacy Development Corporation, which is funding the scheme.
In the coming months, work will take place to install an illuminated glass wall through the subway to separate paying customers using the station and those who want to use it to walk through. The design of the subway draws on the area’s industrial heritage and waterways and the wall has been designed to look like light reflecting off water.
A new entrance and ticket hall is also being built at ground floor level along with new stairs and two new lifts which will significantly improve access to the revamped station for local people and commuters when work is completed in early 2018.
Richard Schofield, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We’re committed to improving the rail network for the growing number of passengers using it as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. The completion of the subway marks a major milestone in the project and will make a huge improvement to the way people access the station and new facilities when the work is completed next year.”
David Goldstone, Chief Executive, London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “Installing the new subway and rebuilding the track in such short time is a fantastic feat of engineering. These works are vital to improve connections for existing residents in Hackney Wick and to support the thousands of new jobs and homes coming to the area.”
John Cox, managing director of VolkerFitzpatrick’s rail division, said: “We are very proud to have safely delivered this key milestone in the construction of an improved Hackney Wick Station in collaboration with Network Rail and London Legacy Development Corporation. This was a complex undertaking which went smoothly due to the forward planning and engagement of all stakeholders. We look forward to completing the remainder of the works to the station and enabling the benefits this will have once finished in early 2018.”
Tower Hamlets Council and Hackney Council have both contributed £1m towards the refurbishment of the station which is expected to generate opportunities including new jobs, investment and affordable housing.