‘A great result after some intensive preparation and well-organised work.’ That is how Richard van Maanen, BAM’s head foreman, summed up the weekend of 18 and 19 December 2021. He and his team have spent four weekends installing five additional switches in the metro tracks. But Van Maanen was also responsible for drawing up the plan and preparing the work. ‘It was a great job and I’m pleased that everything went according to plan.’ Metro line 52, the North/South line, has now been prepared for all the work that will be taking place at Amsterdam Zuid station in the years ahead. We’re spending this week tidying things up and then it’s time for a holiday.’
Removing metro track
In the space of just over a month, five additional switches have been added to the metro tracks. These are necessary in order to be able to remove the track running across the work site that we will need next year in order to build the second station passageway (the Brittenpassage). During the first weekend, we installed two switches, the main purpose of which is to enable metro lines 50 and 51 to divert as necessary. The switches we installed in the weekend of 4 and 5 December and in the weekend of 18 and 19 December make it possible for metro drivers on line 52 to travel from Zuid to and from the depot in Diemen at the start and end of their shifts. Currently, the trains are still travelling back to the rail yard at Amstelveenseweg, but that track will soon no longer be there.
Increasing the length and height of metro platforms
This does not yet mean an end to the work on line 52. The next job will start in the summer of 2022: increasing the length and height of the platforms. Van Maanen is unsure if he will be involved in the job, but knows that it is definitely happening. ‘Whereas now, you come straight out of the Minervapassage onto metro line 52, you will soon have to walk around 50 metres to get there. This is because the platform is being extended towards Beethovenstraat – and even across part of it. The metro platform on the other side, which is only used to redirect line 52, will also move. This operation is also needed to create space, for the renovation of the Minervapassage. It is being widened and also increased in height underneath the metro tracks. In order to build the sections of the roof for the Minervapassage and insert them into place, the metro platform needs to move back slightly.’ This work will be happening from 16 to 22 July 2022.
Replacement of removable railway platform
The installation of the switches was not the only thing that we did during the weekend of 18 and 19 December. We also removed the sections of the removable railway platform between tracks 1 and 2. We did the same for the other railway platform in the weekend of 4 and 5 December. This replacement was needed because the floor sections were deteriorating faster than previously thought. ‘That was because damp penetrated the ends of the sections. During the summer, fungal growth developed in these places that ate away at the wooden floor’, explains Nico Wijte, civil engineering and architecture inspector at Zuidasdok. ‘During the weekend, we laid the sections and struts slightly differently. The struts are no longer underneath the seams of the floor sections, but on the other side. This means that rainwater can now flow away without penetrating the floor sections. The outermost section has now been fitted at a 90° angle to the track. As a result, the first seam is now 2.5 metres away from the platform edge instead of 1.25. If the middle part of the removable railway platform is subject to wear and tear, this means that we will be able to work during the day the next time it is replaced, without disrupting railway services. We hope that these changes mean that the floor sections last for longer, but only time will tell.’
A thousand square metres
A total of 1,000 sq. m. of floor sections had to be replaced for this platform. For the other platform, it was only 300 sq. m. ‘That’s three times as much. We weren’t sure whether we would achieve it. We started by focusing on the platform edges. That meant we would be able to work on the central section during the day, even when the platform was in use.’ That turned out not to be necessary. All of the work was completed before the first train on Monday morning.