Dierckxsens works as a technical manager for Zuidasdok, which makes him the perfect person to explain why railway track 4 will now have a bend in it. ‘Amsterdam Zuid station is one of Amsterdam’s busiest. In the major station refurbishment, which is part of Zuidasdok, we’re therefore creating as much space as possible for the increasing number of passengers. We’re doing this by building an additional passenger tunnel – the Brittenpassage – widening the platforms and, in the future, expanding the existing passenger tunnel, the Minervapassage.’
Because we are working in and next to a station that is very busy, even in these COVID times – and where all the public transport has to run – the work cannot all be done simultaneously. Dierckxsens: ‘In order to avoid letting travellers down, we’re already looking for ways of creating more space on the platforms.’ The new bend is an example of that. ‘By putting a bend in track 4, we can widen a 300 m section of platform 3-4. This will mean that, after Easter, passengers will have more space to move around the platform.’ To achieve this, railway track 4 is being moved towards metro track 1. ‘This means that the two tracks will be closer together.
‘In order to achieve this widening at Easter, we’ll start by removing railway track 4 and metro track 1 and also building the foundations for the two new roof sections – a total of seven will be needed – for this second, new station passageway. The roof sections for this passageway will be inserted underneath railway track 4 and metro track 1 in August’, continues Dierckxsens. The first roof section was already inserted into position in November 2019. ‘When the concrete for the foundations for the two new sections of roof has hardened, we’ll immediately start replacing the tracks and adding that bend to track 4. We’ll also be moving the overhead wires for the train and attaching them to the supports and foundation piles put in place previously.’ At the same time, around 3 m will be added to platform 3-4 at its widest section, in a northerly direction. ‘We’ll then continue working hard to ensure that railway track 4 and metro track 1 are usable again by 05.00 on 6 April.’
Are there similar bends at other stations? Isn’t it quite unusual to have a bend next to a platform? ‘That’s right. The reason why a platform is almost always parallel to the track is to ensure that the train conductors have a proper overview,’ explains Dierckxsens. ‘If you regularly travel by train, you may actually be familiar with the bend at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station. So, it does happen and is safe.’ While the Sloterdijk bend is set to stay, at Amsterdam Zuid station, the track and this platform will broadly run parallel to each other again in the end. In other words, this situation is temporary. ‘The bend is being added to Track 4 now in order to enable us to complete the widening of the platform between the current Minervapassage and the future Brittenpassage for passengers. As soon as the new Brittenpassage has been completed and the existing Minervapassage has been given a thorough makeover, we’ll straighten the track, and it will be possible to widen the full length of the platform.’