Tube maintenance company Tube Lines set 100 students the task of planning underground line extension linking Stratford to Kings Cross as part of an exercise to demonstrate the importance of engineering to society and the economy.
As if the task to design the fastest underground route linking Stratford and Kings Cross stations at the lowest possible cost wasn’t challenging enough, obstacles were thrown in their path, including planning restrictions and land contamination issues which had the potential to drive up costs and increase the optimal journey time between the two destinations.
Helen Cooper, a Tube Lines systems engineer and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) ambassador says the task setters “really wanted to challenge the students’ perceptions of engineering and show them just how interesting and important a career in this industry can be.”
“What looked on paper like an easy engineering task, boring a tunnel from A to B, turned out to be rather more complicated requiring wide ranging skills being put into action, from planning and commercial negotiating skills to applying the all-important cost control processes.”
The company has over 60 STEM ambassadors from different areas across the business who work to challenge the stereotypes which surround STEM careers.