Bereikbaarheid Zuidasdok

Foundation piles for new station passageway completed

After four days of work, the ZuidPlus construction consortium has successfully completed the foundations for two roof sections of the Brittenpassage, the extra passenger tunnel that will run under Amsterdam Zuid station. The work was done with almost no problems.

The roof of the Brittenpassage will consist of seven sections in total. The first section has been in position since November 2019. The work done during Whit weekend 2020 was part of preparations for the insertion of the next two roof sections next year.

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Thursday, 28 May

Having been briefed on the extra hygiene measures, the people from the ZuidPlus construction consortium were ready and waiting to start work. After the last train and metro, ProRail and GVB took the tracks out of service slightly after 01.00 in the morning, the power was turned off and security equipment removed. The builders removed rail profiles, dragged sleepers from their position and dug out the ballast (track gravel), which was then transported away.

In the night of 29 May: the metro power rails are removed...
...as are the platforms...
...and, on Friday morning, the rails and the gravel (ballast) Photo: Marcel Steinbach

Friday, 29 May

After that, the digging could start in order to expose the (hollow) foundation piles already inserted into four channels in the ground last year. These are the groups of foundation piles on which the concrete structure of the future Brittenpassage will rest. Every hour, trucks were removing around 80 cubic metres of soil. The foundation piles (hollow tubes) had their ‘lid’ removed with a hot-air gun. Cyclists along Parnassusweg experienced some minor disruption. For the work on the Brittenpassage, the cycle path on the eastern side had been closed and the western side was also occasionally out of action for the works on the courthouse. This called for the deployment of road traffic controllers. At the end of the afternoon, demolition started on the final section of the old Amstelveen line tunnel, because this is where the new passenger tunnel will be. A ‘woodpecker’ – a hydraulic breaker – noisily removed the roof. Crushers were used to pulverise the walls of the old tunnel and the rubble was removed. The work proceeded more smoothly than expected. The woodpecker had finished its work by 22.30, half an hour ahead of schedule.

The final section of the old tram tunnel is demolished
The foundation piles installed last year are dug open
One of the 4 foundation pile channels. The piles are burnt to the right length Photo: Marcel Steinbach

Saturday, 30 May

There was some delay in loosening the reinforcement cages. Because there was so much to do and a limited space in which to work, it was not possible to use more than two cranes. The work therefore took slightly longer than intended. But as the morning progressed, things suddenly sped up: in just 40 minutes, eight piles were reinforced and things were soon more or less back on schedule. In the evening, the pouring of concrete into the piles began, after which the lid was welded on again. The hole left by the old tram tunnel was refilled with 150 m³ of sand an hour. By 22.30, the ground was back to normal level. The biggest setback was the failure of one of our two webcams: precisely the one with the best view of the works. A big disappointment for quite a few followers, and indeed for us.

Reinforcement cages ready and waiting...
...to be hoisted into the hollow foundation piles
Photo: Marcel Steinbach

Sunday, 31 May

On Sunday morning, concrete was poured into another of the four channels. The other three were already complete and had been filled with sand. It was then time to put the tracks back into position. First of all, the track ballast was put back, followed by the track. The concrete sleepers and rail profiles were then replaced and welded back together.

Monday, 1 June

The tamping machine then arrived to ensure the ballast was properly in place under the sleepers. After all, the tracks need to be on a very stable, flat bed of ballast, enabling trains to travel over it without noise. In the meantime, railway track 4 was given its final ballast as well. The metro power rails were then repositioned and welded into position. As the platforms were put back after four days of work, things were gradually starting to look like the old Amsterdam Zuid station. But with the start of the new one underneath it.

Repositioning tracks
Replacing ballast
A tamping machine packs the ballast under the sleepers Photo: Marcel Steinbach

Tuesday, 2 June

The work was now more or less completed, but the railway tracks remained out of service for the night from Monday into Tuesday. This was because the tracks were now a few centimetres away from their original position. This called for some slight modifications to the overhead wires. Once that job was done, trains and metros started running again from 05.00. For the first time for a long time, trains were running the normal service.

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