Sector - Transport & Infrastructure

Gatwick Airport’s station upgrade enters into service

Costain has successfully completed works to ensure entry into service of the upgraded Gatwick Airport station.

The four-and-a-half-year construction and refurbishment project began in June 2019 and significantly upgrades the station’s ability to handle growing passenger numbers.

Costain first delivered the planning and design stages and was then appointed to deliver the improvement works.

The project has created a safer, more convenient interchange between the station platforms and Gatwick International Airport.

The brief included the construction of a new concourse and staff accommodation, as well as carrying out the reconfiguration of railway infrastructure.

Costain has also refurbished the existing station concourse and footbridges, enhancing the one-way system between the airport and the station.

There are new customer information systems, more ticket gates and significant improvements to accessibility with the installation of eight new escalators and five new lifts.

Costain’s project director, Andy Hudspith, said: “We’re really proud of the work we’ve undertaken for Network Rail to upgrade the station at Gatwick Airport.  The project has been complex and challenging, but we’re pleased that our work will enhance the passenger experience and improve journey times for everyone who uses and passes through the airport. The biggest challenge was to achieve the transformation without negatively impacting rail or airport operations, and with minimal impact on passengers, all while working above a live railway line and within the heart of the world’s busiest single runway airport. We’re delighted to have delivered such an important project successfully.

Gatwick airport is the UK’s second busiest airport and its station is one of the ten busiest stations in the UK outside of London, handling more than 20 million passengers a year. The redevelopment works were designed to provide crucial increased capacity to support airport growth and significantly enhance the passenger experience.

The new second concourse has been built above the existing platforms five, six and seven, doubling the space available for passengers at the station.

The new exit concourse measures 1727 square metres, the size of eight tennis courts and provides a spectacular new entrance space to the airport.

The roof of the new concourse is formed using four clear spanning steel trusses that connect the platform and concourse environments in a sweeping arch form.

The trusses are finished in gold anodised aluminium cladding, bringing warmth and prestige to the space.

In between the trusses there are 945 square metres of ETFE pillows (a lightweight alternative to glazing) which floods the concourse with natural light, using the same technology as the biospheres at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Accessibility has been improved throughout, for example wheelchairs users’ access has been improved through the widening of the historically narrow platforms five and six.

New tactile signage, including braille, has been integrated into the wayfinding signage strategy and there are 70 new hearing loops at key points.

A 24/7 special assistance point has been created in the existing station concourse to provide additional support for passengers with reduced mobility and disabilities.

As well as encouraging sustainable travel, Costain also targeted reducing carbon emissions during the building and operation of the new concourse.

The project used almost 3,000m3 of low-carbon concrete, saving 517 tonnes of CO2 emissions and £12,500 in costs.

LED lighting was used throughout the station, escalators were fitted with reduced speed technology to lower emissions when not in use, and high efficiency gearless lifts were installed as well as a hybrid heating and cooling system.

An estimated annual cost saving of nearly £60,000 and an annual reduction of 144 tonnes of carbon emissions are expected from these features.

David Taylor, Costain’s interim managing director for Transportation, commented: “The development at Gatwick transforms the existing station and provides a greatly enhanced experience for passengers.

“Costain’s extensive capability to deliver complex programmes has been showcased with this project; we’ve used leading edge smart technology and worked sustainably to create a wonderful new space for passengers.

“It’s been a particularly collaborative project which has helped enormously with its success; from an engaged and supportive supply chain to Network Rail’s invaluable assistance with possessions of the railway.”

image courtesy of Costain

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