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Thames takes strain from London streets

Network Rail Media Release

Blackfriars Station project uses the Thames to take the strain off central London Streets

Network Rail will take more than 2000 lorry journeys off central London streets over the next two years by using barges and the River Thames to deliver and remove materials from the Blackfriars station project site.

The congestion-busting barge operation began in late January as a trial and was developed in close consultation with the Port of London Authority (PLA), Livett’s Launches and Balfour Beatty to define the site delivery methodology and coordinate times inline with river traffic and tidal flow.

Work at Blackfriars
Click on image to enlarge

During the life of the landmark Blackfriars project, Network Rail will bring to site via Thames over 14,000 tonnes of materials to build the station's new bridge deck, longer platforms and roof spanning the river. At the same time, more than 8,000 tonnes of deck and pier demolition will also be removed. Barges will arrive on a daily basis.

Not only does the river allow Network Rail to bring more materials to site, more efficiently, it also complements the company's carbon reduction agenda and helps reduce the impact of bridge construction work on line side neighbours by making deliveries to site quieter.

Jim Crawford, Network Rail's major programme director for the Thameslink project, said: "The landmark Blackfriars station will be the first in the capital to span the Thames, providing a direct link to the cultural centres of the South Bank for the first time.

"Working directly above the Thames, delivering and removing materials by barge, makes a lot of sense to us both practically and environmentally. We are committed to using this method."

Port of London Authority chief executive, Richard Everitt, said: "Water and rail are well regarded as the most environmentally-friendly forms of transport, so bringing them together is a winning combination.

"Moving building materials through the capital’s marine highway instead of London’s crowded roads will result in less pollution and congestion.

"By choosing barges, Network Rail has ensured the new Blackfriars station will have good green credentials – not only when it’s operational, but also while it’s being built."

Materials destined for Blackfriars will be loaded onto barges at Thames Warf, near Blackwall and opposite the O2 Arena. It is expected that each barge will take approximately 75 minutes to reach the site where the new steel work will be lifted by crawler crane onto the bridge deck.

Note to Editors:

About the Blackfriars station redevelopment

  • The redeveloped station will be the first to span the River Thames, with a new station built on the South Bank for the first time in 120 years, giving passengers direct access to key local attractions including the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern;
  • The north station will be completely redeveloped to create a spacious and airy entrance and concourse featuring improved interchange facilities with London Underground services;
  • The London Underground station will be significantly enhanced;
  • By the end of 2011 the station will be able to handle longer 12 car trains for the first time with significantly more trains stopping at the station every hour, meaning more seats and better journeys for passengers.
  • N.B. Images of the new Blackfriars south station are available on request in a jpeg format.

About the Thameslink Programme

  • Network Rail’s £5.5bn congestion-busting Thameslink Programme will increase service capacity and frequency on one of London’s busiest and fastest growing passenger routes;
  • Will upgrade a crucial railway artery running through London from St Pancras in the north, to Blackfriars and London Bridge in the south;
  • It will significantly increase the number of rail services between Brighton and Bedford, delivering benefits for passengers and the UK economy;
  • Reduce pressure on key London Underground services by expanding the Thameslink network to include extra stations, allowing trains to travel direct to more destinations (e.g. Cambridge to Gatwick direct);
  • Major reconstruction at three key stations (Blackfriars, Farringdon and London Bridge) will improve the passenger environment and act as a catalyst for regeneration in some of London’s most deprived areas.

About Network Rail

  • Network Rail is the 'not for dividend' owner and operator of Britain's railway infrastructure, which includes the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations - the largest of which we also manage
  • We aim to provide a safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure for freight and passenger trains to use.

For further information, please contact:

Nathan Quigley
Communications Manager (Blackfriars)
Network Rail
T: 0203 201 1380
M: 07515 624 952

or visit the Network Rail Website (opens in a new window)