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Today, the London Underground carries over one billion passengers a year and as passenger demand continues to grow so does the need to increase capacity and upgrade the aging Victorian network.
The ‘Cooling the Tube’ project includes an upgrade to the ventilation shafts and fan equipment of the Victoria Line, designed to reduce the ambient temperature in its tunnels and underground stations.
London Underground wanted a solution that would double the volume of air extracted from existing ventilation shafts. The system had to provide maximum reliability, volume of extraction and operational life, without impacting on local noise limits.
The existing ventilation shafts were located in densely populated urban locations, adjacent to residential areas, school and offices. The upgrade had to be carried out within the space constraints of the existing buildings, and also in a manner which minimised local disruption. Early discussions and workshops with the whole construction team helped ensure that the build sequence was optimised and understood by everyone involved.
The new fans doubled the rate at which hot air can be extracted from the tube tunnels, from 37.5m3/s to 75m3/s. Extraction and noise levels, as specified by the client, were achieved. Fans will be operational during peak traffic hours, when passenger numbers are at their greatest and when background traffic noise is at its loudest.
Value management reviews were undertaken throughout the project to take into account whole life costs. Early changes to design principles resulted in cost savings and a reduced construction programme.
"Cooling the Tube is a major and longterm engineering challenge… The start of works to upgrade the ventilation shafts that serve the Victoria line and will double the capacity of the existing units"Tim O'Toole
Managing Director, London Underground Ltd