Network Rail is to transport more than 14,000 tonnes of materials for the Blackfriars rail station redevelopment by barge on the River Thames after a successful trial to assess the suitability of the River Thames as an access route.
The trial, which started in January, was conducted by Network Rail in consultation with the Port of London Authority (PLA), Livett’s Launches and Balfour Beatty.
Over the next two years more than 14,000 tonnes of materials and 8,000 tonnes of waste will be transported via the Thames, taking an estimated 2,000 lorry journeys off London streets.
Once completed the redeveloped Blackfriars station, which is expected to open in 2011, will span the River, providing direct access to key attractions on the South Bank including the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern.
Jim Crawford, Network Rail’s major programme director for the Thameslink project, said: “The landmark Blackfriars station will be the first in the capital to span the Thames, providing a direct link to the cultural centres of the South Bank for the first time.
“Working directly above the Thames, delivering and removing materials by barge, makes a lot of sense to us both practically and environmentally. We are committed to using this method.”
Port of London Authority officials say using the Thames to transport the materials “will result in less pollution and congestion”
PLA hief executive, Richard Everitt, said: “Water and rail are well regarded as the most environmentally-friendly forms of transport, so bringing them together is a winning combination.
“By choosing barges, Network Rail has ensured the new Blackfriars station will have good green credentials – not only when it’s operational, but also while it’s being built.”
Materials for the project will be loaded onto barges at Thames Warf, near Blackwall and opposite the O2 Arena for the estimated 75 minutes journey to the construction site.