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Crossrail station profile: Tottenham Court Road

As part of Transport for London’s programme to transform the Tube, Tottenham Court Road Underground station is being completely redeveloped.

Built over 100 years ago as two separate Tube stations, Tottenham Court Road was not designed to cope with the almost 150,000 passenger journeys that are now made through the station every day and congestion is a frequent occurrence. Passenger numbers are expected to rise to over 200,000 when Crossrail services commence in 2017.

The transformation of Tottenham Court Road, costing £1bn, will be the biggest transport investment in the West End for decades. “The project will deliver congestion relief, including a bigger ticket hall, additional escalators, step-free access and an interchange with Crossrail services, in stages over the next seven years. The expanded ticket hall and new entrance on Oxford Street are scheduled to open in 2014 with the station completed by 2017,” explains LUs senior project manager Ralph Freeston.

A new ticket hall will be built at Dean Street which will provide access to the western end of the Crossrail platforms and additional access to the Central Line. Before construction starts, however, dozens of different utilities are being diverted and buildings demolished to provide the necessary site for the work.

Since 2007, Birse Metro has been working with LU to divert over 40 utilities in and around Charing Cross Road and Oxford Street. Working cheek by jowl with infrastructure nearly 200 years old in places, over 300m of tunnelling has already been completed, mostly in London clay.

Earlier this year, 13 properties, including the Astoria Theatre, were compulsorily purchased before being surveyed and soft-stripped. They are now being dismantled, floor by floor, by demolition contractor McGee.

“The project will deliver congestion relief, including a bigger ticket hall, additional escalators, step-free access and an interchange with Crossrail services.”

Ralph Freeston, London Underground

The location of the site, in a densely populated commercial and residential area, poses a technical challenge for McGee, who is set to complete the work towards the end of 2009. Over 95% of all material from the demolished buildings is being recycled with masonry being crushed and graded on site for use as fill. “Not only is this a sensible use of resources, it also cuts the number of lorry movements in the area,” explains Freeston.

LU’s main contractor will be appointed in late 2009 and will start on site early in 2010. One of its first tasks will be piling for the Northern Line escalator box. Adjacent to the Northern Line tunnels and Charing Cross Road, the box will be nearly 30m-deep and provide much needed additional access to the Northern Line.

The existing ticket hall, which currently falls within the footprint of one of the original Edwardian ticket halls, will be extended beneath the Centre Point forecourt and Charing Cross Road. When complete, the new ticket hall will be nearly six times the current size offering a dramatic entrance to the station, with lift and escalator access from new entrances outside Centre Point and on Oxford Street.

LU and Crossrail are working closely to deliver the station’s transformation. During 2010, LU will demolish several more buildings to construct an escalator shaft from the new ticket hall to a lower concourse and the eastern end of the Crossrail platforms. About 250m to the west, Crossrail will start work for a new ticket hall, which will provide access to both Crossrail platforms and the Central Line.

This western entrance to the station will be located off Dean Street, running south off Oxford Street. The ticket hall will be at street level but the station box will continue five levels below ground. A lower concourse will provide an interchange between Crossrail and the Central Line via two banks of escalators.

“Ever since our utility diversions commenced in 2007, our priority has been to keep traffic moving, while ensuring the safety of pedestrians in the area.”

Ralph Freeston, London Underground

During 2010, work will be necessary to strengthen and replace the utilities beneath Oxford Street, some of which date back to the 1820s and could be affected by the settlement from the project.

Crossrail’s tunnel boring machines are scheduled to reach the Tottenham Court Road area in late 2012.

Their passage will be an intricate operation, passing beneath the new escalator shaft to the Northern Line, but over the Northern Line running tunnels and overbridges.

The scheme poses numerous challenges to LU and Crossrail. The design of the escalator adits, for example, must take into account their relationship with the foundations of adjoining buildings. At the Dean Street entrance, the Crossrail and Central Line escalators have been orientated eastwards, such that they come close to buildings on the eastern face of Dean Street.

The construction work will require a number of major changes to the traffic and pedestrian management in the area. “Ever since our utility diversions commenced in 2007, our priority has been to keep traffic moving, while ensuring the safety of pedestrians in the area,” says Freeston. With two work sites, at the east and west end of the station, this operation will soon become even more complex and, in 2010, will see Charing Cross Road significantly diverted for several years. However, the station works will be a catalyst for the transformation of the local area, which has been blighted by traffic and poor pedestrian facilities for decades.

LU and Crossrail are working closely with Camden and Westminster councils and Transport for London’s Surface Transport team to develop a co-ordinated plan for the area, including a pedestrian plaza and good walking links to neighbouring communities. Regular meetings take place with local residents and business groups to gauge their opinion on the work and take into account local needs and sensitivities.

Crossrail run times from Tottenham Court Road

  • Canary Wharf 12 mins
  • Whitechapel 08 mins
  • Liverpool Street 05 mins
  • Farringdon 03 mins
  • Tottenham Court Road n/a
  • Bond Street 02 mins
  • Paddington 05 mins

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