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ENVIRONMENT & SUSTAINABILITY


the norm to ‘build in’ sustainability on the Blackfriars model.


He told us: “Sustainability is a huge issue in terms of the design of any new structure or building. We have just put together some guidance for our project teams about how that is applied. Blackfriars is not a one-off; we are doing it at King’s Cross and you will see it now on all projects where we have got the opportunity to put substantive glass in and can put in renewable-type energy sources.


“It is becoming more and more common because of the technology available today. Five or ten years ago it was leading-edge technology and there were questions about its reliability; it is more mature now. Black- friars will be one of the biggest projects of its kind in Europe and it is certainly the biggest in the UK.”


Timeline


Blanchfl ower explained more about the progress of the works at Blackfriars station to an audience at Railtex in June.


He said: “Passengers will fi rst be able to use that station in December this year, in conjunction with the beginning of 12- car running. That will open up a huge catchment area south of the river, with new access to the national rail network for people in that area. The dominating feature is the new roof on the east side, the downstream side of the bridge. We’re now working on the other side of the bridge, carrying out the strengthening works and creating the new platforms that will be brought into operation next spring.


“Work fi rst started on the downstream side, stripping off the existing bridge deck down to the ribs, repairing the ribs and placing a new rib structure on the outside to widen the bridge. We then replaced the deck plates on that downstream side, then the new roof structure went into place.


“That was all completed prior to Christ- mas last year, then we carried out the track switch and have started work on the up- stream site, stripping off the deck plates down to rib arches, adding three new rib arches on that west side of the bridge, and putting the new deck and roof on.


“We’ve made excellent progress and are working well, using the lessons learnt on the east side. The new London Under- ground escalators went in at Blackfriars a few weeks ago. We’ve had the London Un- derground station closed for the last couple of years, and it will re-open as a brand new facility in December.


“The roof structure over the Thames will carry the largest array of photo-voltaic cells in the country. We will be generating the majority of the electricity for the station from that photo-voltaic array being con- structed on that roof.”


There to stay


But that roof structure, according to Kirby, has been built to last. Even if there were to be major innovations in PV cells in the next few years, it would “not be easy at all” to replace or upgrade, he conceded.


He told RTM: “Retrofi tting it is not an easy solution; you have to do it when you are ac-


tually renewing or replacing a large amount of substantive cells. It is not just the cells, it is the whole infrastructure around it. Quite often in a listed building you have to inte- grate into the design of the building, so it is not an easy thing to retrofi t.


“But it is not really a big concern. You have got to look at other ways of using renewa- bles; there are other forms of wind and different types of renewable energy. If you look at the car parks we have just done on the West Coast, they have all got wind power generation in the basic spec; there are things on the roof rotating. There are other ways too.


“It is just about applying good construction practice. We have just announced a policy for our projects in terms of sustainability which includes things like BREEAM sta- tus and putting minimum requirements in place on anything we are doing. It is not just about the big King’s Crosses or Blackfriars – the new Milton Keynes national offi ce is being built to these standards as well.”


Kirby concluded: “Rail underplays the level of sustainability there already is; things like the electrifi cation programmes build on that in terms of not just creating infra- structure to run new trains but things like regenerative braking and again ways of im- proving sustainability.


“We are introducing electric metering on trains; there are lots of different things that are happening and there is more we can do to promote that.”


FOR MORE INFORMATION


Visit www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/7669.aspx rail technology magazine Jun/Jul 11 | 41


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