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Lifting the lid off the Northern Line

Category: General / 06 October 2017

In an extremely complex operation, the team has taken down the entire top half of the tunnel in one weekend instead of the planned three, without any incident.

The Northern Line Extension (NLE) project is extending London Underground's Northern Line to Battersea, creating 24,000 jobs, 18,000 homes, and reducing journey times for local communities.

Having constructed the enlarged tunnel around the operating Northern line tunnel (Charing Cross branch) loop at each of the two locations where the NLE connects with the current railway, the existing Kennington loop cast iron tunnel rings, which were built in 1926, were removed above track level. It was imperative to ensure the majority of this complicated operation was mechanised to reduce the level of risk involved. During the months leading up to the work, BIM was used to model the step plate junction area and lay out the plant locations. The team of 120 people worked in shifts throughout the weekend to maintain the works nonstop. As a result of the huge planning effort and some fantastic teamwork, all 220 tonnes of old tunnel rings were successfully dismantled in one weekend possession (101 rings at Kennington Park, 117 at Kennington Green) and without any incident. The newly created step plate junctions have now become integral in the operating Northern line.

Luis Rallo, Deputy Project Director, commented: "This is a significant milestone for the NLE and we are proud of very effort that has allowed these works to be completed. The team has delivered efficiently and with the highest standards of safety. Ferrovial Agroman and Laing O'Rourke (FLO) JV and London Underground (LUL) have demonstrated professionalism, and we have breathed innovation day by day, truly setting a benchmark across the industry and hopefully inspiring future generations."

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