Green light for Crossrail brings design opportunities

Crossrail’s core design team is set for ‘massive’ expansion, as the organisation prepares to issue design tenders for the east-west London rail link.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave the project the goahead on 5 October, before pledging £16bn to Crossrail during the Comprehensive Spending Review on 9 October.

Opportunities for design consultancies will include developing all station furniture and services – including ticket offices, ticket machines, dotmatrix indicators, CCTV, vending and commercial outlets, signage and signalling – according to Transport for London group design manager Innes Ferguson.

While Crossrail constitutes teams from TfL and the Department for Transport, TfL is to take the lead role in the project, having been charged with controlling standards and levels of service on Crossrail.

‘Our concern is to provide the customer with a modern London experience, so that there is a consistency in the use of standard products, without slight differences,’ says Ferguson.

Ferguson admits that TfL will be applying the lessons that it learned during the planning of the Jubilee Line Tube extension and the ongoing Overground rail project.

‘The Jubilee Line, particularly, taught us the importance of integrated planning. This time, we will be making sure that all aspects of the station are incorporated on the same plan instead of different ones, to create a more harmonious whole,‘ he explains.

In addition, Ferguson adds that facilities for disabled users must also amount to ‘a mature integration of inclusive design’, rather than being an ‘afterthought’.

Mixed teams made up of designers, architects andengineers will work in turn on each of the 36 stations – including seven new ones – says Ferguson. In contrast to the alternative ‘assembly-line’ style approach, this will facilitate a more integrated and well-designed result for the stations, he claims.

Crossrail has produced two reports, Crossrail Design Manual and Crossrail Architectural Design Guidelines: Vision for The System, which Ferguson has just reviewed. He says they were both of a high standard and ‘only required a couple of pages of comments from us’.

The principal architect and masterplanner for the project is Michael McCretton. Along with Ferguson and Design For London director Peter Bishop, McCretton is at the centre of the design planning team.

Crossrail is currently putting together client teams made up of the internal commissioners of the design work. Once these are ready, tenders will be released.

• Crossrail will connect Shenfield in the east with Maidenhead in the west of Greater London
• It will run through 36 stations
• Seven new stations will be built alongside existing stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and the Isle of Dogs
• The project has taken 16 years to receive Government approval, it will cost £16bn, and is scheduled for completion in 2017

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