Buildoffsite Rail Hub Visit to Reading Station
On Wednesday 21st February, Buildoffsite’s Rail Hub visited the £120million redevelopment project at Reading Station, part of the Reading Station Area Redevelopment (RSAR) project, as part of their 2017 event programme. Hailed as an exemplary project by the sector, the project client, Network Rail, hosted the morning event together with HOCHTIEF and Costain who were partners in the project JV. The morning offered members a unique opportunity to hear about the conception, planning and logistics of this huge build, which was completed while maintaining full rail and station functionality. The presenters included Tim Monckton, Head of Technical Services at HOCHTIEF, Jerry Hayes, Project Director at Costain, and Jimmy McWhirter, Senior Construction Manager (Station) with Network Rail. The session focused on the construction and placement of the platform canopies and there were plenty of opportunities for questions, giving attendees an opportunity to gain additional insight into the project, the challenges it posed and the solutions found.
From its initial proposal in 2008, the scheme developed and adapted to meet changes and challenges, and was motivated to keep on schedule due to the severe consequences on other successor projects as well as the rail network if deadlines were missed. The scheme was successfully completed in 2014. Keeping the trains running and the commuters commuting made the logistics of the scheme particularly challenging, but the use of offsite build and a tightly planned schedule enabled the station to function with minimal disruption. A specially commissioned factory in Poole provided the offsite manufacture for the scheme, allowing onsite storage to be kept to a minimum.
A high level of collaboration between all parties and a low level of internal resistance to the scheme were highlighted as major contributors to its success. The lessons learned from this project have fed into other Network Rail, Costain and HOCHTIEF projects, with projected time and cost savings expected to be two of the key benefits.