Major new £20m footbridge becomes the first ever structure to be push-launched over an operational rail station.
Connecting across the tracks
Croydon Council and Network Rail needed to increase capacity at East Croydon Station, the UK’s third busiest railway interchange station, to relieve congestion and facilitate the future development and regeneration of Croydon Metropolitan Centre, including plans to provide up to 7,500 new homes in the area.
Put simply, the bridge is needed to connect one side of the tracks to the other. However, the real challenge was building in capacity for future station growth that might include additional rail tracks, platforms, lifts and telecommunications equipment, to facilitate a predicted increase in passenger numbers until 2040. Critically, the station needed to stay fully operational during the entire construction process.
The bridge launch had to be pushed as slowly as possible so that train drivers approaching the station did not think that the bridge was collapsing.
A double Vierendeel truss – composed of rectangular rather than diagonal units– creates the main bridge housing retail kiosks, waiting areas and ticket machines. From this central spine cantilevered decks ferry passengers to each of the platforms. The exposed steel frame is white, with yellow internal panels that light up at night, to provide a beautifully utilitarian, emblematic structure, uniting the white silhouettes of No. 1 Croydon and East Croydon main station.
The bridge was designed in collaboration with engineering firm Mott Macdonald and assembled on a site adjacent to the railway by the contractor BAM Nuttall. Once erected, the 100m structure was installed in 20 hours via the push launch technique of construction over a live railway, without disrupting on-going services to platforms.
It was found that cows birthing lubrication was most effective for reducing resistance during installation; it was applied constantly to the bridge during the launch.
A catalyst for regeneration
Our masterplan for East Croydon is transforming the area through the delivery of a world-class railway station, an efficient transport interchange and a well-connected and high quality public realm. The robust framework for the phased delivery of these components is coordinated with a series of major, high quality, mixed-use developments, to create a new landmark urban quarter, fundamental to the growth of Croydon Metropolitan Centre and the borough as a whole.
“The new bridge will play a pivotal role in the regeneration of this area for Croydon, providing better access to the station and a key route between new developments and the town centre.”
Tim Robinson Route Managing Director, Network Rail