Custom House Station - design

The station is principally on two levels, ground (platform level and plant rooms,) and concourse (incorporating the station entrance and link bridges to the north and south) along with an ETFE roof. The layouts are organised on both levels by a colonnade running parallel to the platform.

Centred on the platform, the colonnade contains vertical circulation, ticket machines and staff accommodation, and stairs, escalators and lifts, along with plant rooms. The DLR eastern link bridge and ExCeL link bridge connect into this colonnade.

The concourse extends to the north over the tracks to provide a public space with a translucent roof. The Victoria Dock Road bridge connects the station entrance to this public space and shares the same roof system.

The three key design principles are simplicity, integration and modularity

  • Simplicity: The station will be easily understood and navigated. Open spaces and clear sightlines shall direct passengers effortlessly to the trains, station facilities and local neighbourhood. The function of each space should be obvious, and the architecture should differentiate them.
  • Integration: Architecture, structure and services are integrated. Every element has a purpose and expresses it honestly, providing what is needed and no more. Reducing the number of elements, and integrating or aligning those that remain, provides a clean and clutter-free station environment. It also facilitates construction by minimising the quantity of elements, number of trades and time on site.
  • Modularity / Kit of Parts’ construction: The objectives of simplicity and integration lead naturally to a “kit of parts” approach for the design and detailing of the station. Standardised components are manufactured off site in controlled factory conditions, and the ‘kit of parts’ approach has a number of advantages:
  1. Work on site is minimised, driving down programme time and preliminary costs and reducing the impact on the local community;
  2. Off-site manufacture can take place during the Olympics so that there is not an impact upon the events at ExCel and reducing programme pressures;
  3. Fewer deliveries are required and vehicle movements around the site are therefore reduced, lessening the traffic, noise and air quality impacts on the local community;
  4. Construction activity is shifted from site to factory, improving working conditions and overall reducing health and safety risks;
  5. The more controlled conditions of the factory ensure more consistent and higher-quality production; and
  6. This reduces the need for applied finishes, decreasing programme time, simplifying procurement and potentially lowering costs.

In addition, the Custom house Station will provide:

A safe and secure environment: Openness and good sightlines make the station self policing. The staff accommodation opens the concourse up to the Custom House public realm on the north so that the Victoria Dock Road overbridge and the ticket hall are spatially continuous and transparent to the wider public realm;


  1. An inclusive and accessible environment: Openness and straightforward routes make the station accessible for all users. Lifts, ramps and stairs provide Passengers with Restricted Mobility (PRM) access between DLR and Crossrail, Crossrail and ExCeL, and Crossrail and the local areas;
  2. Value for money: The integration of structure and architecture makes for an efficient design. Off-site manufacture improves finish quality and reduces construction activities, and therefore programme time, on site. The improved quality makes it possible for materials to be self-finished, which by omitting the need for additional trades simplifies procurement and reduces programme time and risk;
  3. A maintainable environment: The strategy for maintenance access has been built in to the design of the station. Materials are low-maintenance and where possible, self-cleaning. Use of Crossrail common design elements facilitates system-wide maintenance and future replacement;
  4. An operable environment: Passenger movement through the station is clear and logical with maximum run-offs. The station has been designed for operation by a single member of staff with consideration for peak and off-peak configurations.

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