Accessibillity Zuidasdok

Extra station passageway for Amsterdam Zuid: what next?

On 2 November 2019, the first roof section for the extra passageway at Amsterdam Zuid station was inserted into place through the A10 and the railway track. Masses of you watched the event live – either in person or on the webcams. But this was only the start of things to come. Seven questions about what happens next.

Artist’s impression of the new Brittenpassage, the first roof section of which was shifted into position on 2 and 3 November.

1. This is the first section of the roof, how many more will there be?

Actually, we will need a total of seven roof sections for the new Brittenpassage. These all need to go under the four metro tracks, the four railway tracks and in the place where a fifth and sixth railway track may be needed in the future. The ultimate aim is for Amsterdam Zuid to become Amsterdam’s second station, in terms of passenger numbers. The first roof section is now firmly in place under railway tracks 2 and 3.

Saturday 2 November 2019, the first section of the roof is in place, but the A10 and the track are still 'gone'
Saturday 2 November 2019, the first section of the roof is in place, but the A10 and the track are still 'gone' Photo: Marcel Steinbach

2. Will we have an operation like the one on 1, 2 and 3 November for each of the seven roof sections?

No, fortunately not, although inserting the next roof sections will also cause some disruption. For the roof section that was placed into position in the first weekend of November, it was necessary to dig a hole 85 m long and 1.5 m deep in the A10 Zuid. Digging up the A10 will also be necessary for a further two sections. One large section to go under what is now track 1 and the future sixth track. And another, slightly smaller, for the future fifth track. The foundation piles for these two roof sections are already in the ground, but still need reinforcement and concrete added, together with abutments to support the roof sections. This will also require train services to be stopped and the outer A10 Zuid ring road to be closed. These are the operations that will cause the most disruption. For the other roof sections, the A10 can remain intact. We will construct them in situ or between the metro tracks. However, the insertion of these sections will disrupt train and metro services.

The remaining roof sections for the Brittenpassage

3. Why can’t you just push the roof sections over the A10 and then lower them into place? Or hoist them over the A10?

The roof sections are extremely heavy. The section inserted on 2 November weighed 3 million kg. That leaves you with limited options. In order to support the weight of the roof section when it is being put into place, special supports are needed, with foundation piles underneath them. If we tried to push the roof section across the A10, these piles would need to protrude above the road surface. That’s not possible on a motorway that is in use.

2 to 3 November: replacing the track
2 to 3 November: replacing the track Photo: Marcel Steinbach

4. But the new station passage also needs to go under the northern side of the A10. How is that possible without opening up the A10?

In the place where the northern exit of the Brittenpassage will be, on Eduard van Beinumstraat, the old Atrium car park is underneath the A10. We intend to make use of that structure to create a northern exit for the Brittenpassage. This will prevent the need to close the A10 inner ring road for an eighth roof section.

5. Why not put the roof sections in place all in one go when the A10 has been dug up anyway?

Some of you were watching on the webcam and thinking ‘there must be a more efficient way of doing this’. If the A10 has been dug up anyway, you might as well put all of the roof sections into position at the same time. This would indeed save time and effort, but would not reduce the disruption. Because of the major disruption to traffic, we do not want to make a habit of closing the A10 and the railway on working days. Between 22.00 on Friday and 05.00 on Sunday, there are 52 workable hours in which everything needs to happen: dig up the A10, move railway tracks, cut piles to correct length, position supports, insert, replace the A10 and the track, resurface the road and deal with any setbacks that happen along the way. There is simply not enough time or space for three roof sections at the same time.

3 November, as the train service resumes, the A10 is resurfaced
3 November, as the train service resumes, the A10 is resurfaced Photo: Marcel Steinbach

6. What are the plans for the remaining six roof sections?

Insertion across the A10 will not happen again until 2021 at the earliest. Next year, we intend to insert the roof sections from the northern side. By the end of this year, we expect to have some certainty with regard to the train- and metro-free periods that will be possible next year. We are actually dependent on a nationwide schedule. It also needs to be possible to take several railway tracks out of service at the same time as the metro track. We will also first need several weekends in which to make the foundation piles and abutments before inserting a roof section from the northern side. The actual insertion might not happen until after the summer. Whatever the case, you can count on several more years of fun and excitement from us!

7. When all of the roof sections are in place, what happens then?

When they are all in position, work can start on excavating the Brittenpassage and the construction of a fully-fledged passenger tunnel with shops and facilities that you will now be familiar with from the other refurbished stations.

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