Upgrade works at Romford station to add a new entrance and step-free access are progressing, despite covid restrictions.
Romford has already seen significant changes in recent years in preparation for the Elizabeth line, including the extension of its platforms and changes to the platform edge in 2018. This change was to accommodate the new full-length Class 345 trains, which are due to be introduced on the route later this year, and the installation of cameras to allow the trains’ drivers to see all the way down the platform.
Over Christmas, the existing ticket office was closed and all the ticketing facilities transferred to a temporary location inside the station. This has allowed the works to continue while providing the required ticketing facilities for passengers.
When the current works are complete, the station will have lift access from ground level to the mezzanine level and platforms 3, 4 and 5, a fully refurbished ticket office and a new entrance. TfL’s separate plan to add step-free access to platforms 1 and 2 were withdrawn last year.
Maroof Hossain, Network Rail’s project manager for the Romford station upgrade has been overseeing the works being undertaken by contractor VolkerFitzpatrick, since late 2018. Maroof explains how his team and VolkerFitzpatrick have been able to maintain safety for the workforce, station staff and passengers.
“When we first started to upgrade Romford, we had little idea of the challenges that we would encounter in March 2020. The team was already on site, working to modify an existing lift shaft and convert it into a lift usable by the public.”
“Then in February last year, the situation with COVID meant we had to start taking measures on site to address the recommendations coming from the Government – to maintain distance and regularly wash our hands.”
“We took the decision, with VolkerFitzpatrick, to shut down the site in late March 2020, for six weeks.”
VolkerFitzpatrick’s project manager, Adrian Pettigrew, has worked alongside Maroof since the project began, and has helped to implement many of the new procedures both teams are now working to, to ensure everyone goes home safe every day.
“We have had to overcome complications with the delivery of plant, materials and equipment to areas within the station. This was challenging as we could only perform some of our main works whilst swapping from operational to non-operational periods (i.e. day to night) and vice-versa.”
“The programme ahead sees us completing our main civils works by March 2021, with the intention of progressing the main fit-out and building services through to project completion.”
The Romford station upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, though it remains under review and subject to future guidance on social distancing.