Consultant Mott MacDonald, contractor Laing O’Rourke and architect Hawkins Brown have published proposals to redevelop Clapham Junction station in south London.
Mott MacDonald project principal Ian Watkins said that Clapham Junction was the London station with the most improvement potential.
The station is the fourth busiest in the UK and is heavily congested. It is expected to have to cater for 25% more passengers by 2031. The station also currently acts as an obstacle, effectively cutting the London suburb of Clapham in half.
“There is no longer a ’do nothing’ option [at Clapham Junction],” said Watkins. “The station itself has very little character, there is very poor public realm in that area, and how the station currently operates creates a severance to locals. If you don’t want to pay for a ticket, you have to walk for half a mile to go round it.”
Under the redevelopment proposals, the tracks and platforms will be straightened to increase the throughput of trains and increase capacity, while improving accessibility and safety.
The station concourse is currently located on an overbridge on the north side of the station. Under the proposals, this would be moved to ground level allowing for better wayfinding and integration with local amenities.
The new concourse would cover 14,000m2 and would also provide a new walkway through the station.
An oversite development would also be incorporated into the design of the station to help pay for the redevelopment. This would be built in phases and take around 10 years to complete.
The team is proposing to buy land to the south of the station, on which four new platforms could be built “off grid”. This will enable track to be straightened without the station losing capacity.
“Constructing the platforms “off grid” would drive down costs and speed up the programme as you’re not having to build over the railway,” said Watkins.
“This solution maintains all platforms in operation at all times, minimising disruption.”
Railway possessions would only be needed to tie the new platforms in to the existing network, Watkins added.
The subsequent stages will then be coordinated with Crossrail 2 – which is to run under Clapham Junction station – to allow site access. The existing Network Rail platforms will then be constructed in groups, while maintaining the same number of operational platforms.
The staging of construction would also enable the creation of the large ground level concourse.
Watkins said although buying the land to facilitate the redevelopment may not be popular with some home or business owners, it was necessary to create a better station and surrounding environment for the future.
“When we first started looking at this site, no matter what you do to fix the railway, and by fix I mean get the platforms straightened to get the train throughput and accessibility Network Rail wants, you have to buy land,” he said.
“Let’s not shy away from this, this is what the scheme is, other schemes have broken other constraints and they all agree you have to buy something. So if you want to fix this and not put a patch and come back in 20 years’ time, unfortunately we have to deal with that.”
In April last year, Network Rail took over the running of the station, developing options to relieve congestion in the short term and “investigating the feasibility of a more significant station redevelopment in the longer-term”.
Following this, Network Rail head of Crossrail 2 Chris Curtis revealed to New Civil Engineer the details of a plan put together by Innova, a 50-50 joint venture between Network Rail and property developer Capco.
Hawkins Brown founding partner Roger Hawkins said this new vision differed from the previously proposed schemes as it had taken into account a wider area than just the current site.
“I think there is a danger that the existing schemes perhaps become a little constrained because they are looking at the red lines and we have looked beyond those red line boundaries,” said Hawkins.
“I think our scheme here exposes the joined up thinking and if that thinking allows for slightly larger work sites and better access and better outcomes then I think we’ve done a good job.”
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