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Platform Level to Escalators - Creating a Familiar Identity

Platform Level to Escalators - Creating a Familiar Identity

The five mined underground Elizabeth line stations in central London - Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel – set the foundations for the common design components. In these stations from the platforms to the top of the escalators, the architectural forms and materials will be recognisably consistent to give passengers a sense of familiarity right across the route.

Elizabeth line central stations modal identity design guide_236332


LINE-WIDE DESIGN

Join Neill McClements, Director at Grimshaw and Julian Maynard, Director at Maynard Design to learn more about how the line-wide design helps give Elizabeth line stations a familiar identity, and how totems and platform screens help to de-clutter stations, improving the passenger experience in this video.


CONSISTENT UNDERGROUND SPACES

The geometries defined by tunnel engineering inside stations are celebrated and become one of the most distinguishable features of these stations. Engineers worked to minimise the number of bespoke junctions and standardise the number of different tunnel types used to construct the Elizabeth line stations. 

Curved corners and smooth junctions

The use of sprayed concrete lining has led to curved corners and smooth junctions which minimises blind spots, improves passenger flow and promoted intuitive wayfinding. The sprayed concrete lining has also enabled spaces in Elizabeth line stations which are larger in scale compared to the rest of London's transport network. These bigger spaces give a spacious feel and have been designed to accommodate future passenger growth. Most of the mined stations have separate exits at either end of the platforms leading upwards into new ticket halls. 


GLASS-FIBRE REINFORCED CONCRETE

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Glass-Fibre Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) has been used to clad the sprayed concrete tunnel lining, leaving smooth, sweeping, curved edges that promote easy navigation and reduce blind spots for passengers. 

This cladding is attached to a frame which is tight against the tunnel lining, maximising the passenger space. Due to the distinctive spaces on the Elizabeth line, the GFRC panels are flat, have a single curvature (such as along a platform), or have a double curvature (such as at the transition between a cross passage and a platform). Some panels have perforations - these aren't just decorative, they have been specifically designed to absorb acoustic noise, ensuring a better passenger environment. Although predominantly found in the mined central stations, GFRC acoustic panels have also been used at Abbey Wood station.  

The cladding system also supports the lighting strategy and the integration of signage, advertising and essential equipment.


LIGHTING THE ELIZABETH LINE STATIONS

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The station lighting enhances the passenger experience and emphasises the below-ground architecture. The general use of indirect lighting within the concourses, escalator tunnels and platforms emphasises the architecture of the spaces rather than drawing attention to the luminaires themselves. To aid in the maintenance of the lighting within stations, lighting has been designed lower down compared to other stations on London's transport network, and therefore easier to reach, maintain and replace. 

Use of LED

LED lighting is used across the Elizabeth line and is 62% more energy efficient than standard light fittings. LEDs also have a longer expected lifetime of between 60,000 and 100,000 hours, meaning lighting will not need to be replaced as often, having a reduced impact on passengers. 

Colour temperature

Colour temperature has been used to encourage intuitive wayfinding - in fast-moving spaces, such as escalators and cross passages a Cool White (5,000-7,000K) is used, and in slow-moving spaces such as concourses or platforms where customers may need to make a decision (such as which way to exit the station), a Warm White (3,000-4,000K) is used. 

Types of luminaires

Platform edge screen lightbox - the platform screens incorporate light boxes above the information screens and doors. The light from these screens cascades down the curvature of the GFRC on the platform producing a pleasant environment for departing or arriving passengers.

Totem light - The totems are the primary source of lighting in the mined stations' lower concourses. These incorporate a high-powered LED uplighter providing lighting onto the GFRC ceiling, and emergency lighting along their body. The top section of the luminaire acts as a passive heat sink, helping to control the ambient operating temperature for the light to maintain and prolong its life. 

Recessed escalator deck light - the escalator tunnels are lit by an LED tape along the escalator tread and a luminaire recessed into the escalator deck. The deck lights have been designed to be at a more accessible level to reduce maintenance time when they need to be changed. Traditional lighting hung from the ceiling would require the construction of a deck above the escalator. The recessed escalator deck lights can be replaced from the side of the escalator.

Cross passage lighting booms - the lighting booms in the ceiling of the cross passages incorporate not just a glare-free Cool White light, but technical services for the station including cameras, speakers and antennas.

Learn more about the lighting strategy for the Elizabeth line in the Lighting Design and Strategy Learning Legacy paper here.


WAYFINDING

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The new Elizabeth line stations were designed to cater for hundreds of thousands of passengers who use the Elizabeth line each day. Many of these stations connect two ticket halls, underground with platforms up to 250m long and concourses. At Liverpool Street, the concourse is the full length, connecting the two ends of the station. Passenger wayfinding is vital, when someone arrives at an Elizabeth line station they need to quickly and easily navigate to the correct ticket hall for where they need to exit. 

As you descend to the concourse you are greeted by totems which provide directional information to the relevant platform for your direction of travel, or destination. These are supplemented with route maps (eastbound or westbound from your location) close to the cross passages.

Once on the platform, departing passengers are primarily concerned with when their next train will arrive. Above all 27 sets of screen doors on each platform are customer information screens providing information for up to the next three trains. This information includes interchange options.

Within the platform screens are printed maps of London's transport network.

For arriving passengers wayfinding information is prioritised on the back wall of the platform. Elizabeth line station roundels clearly show the station you are in, and include directional signage for lifts, exits and interchanges enabling you to find your way to the exit quickly. Also on the back wall are Legible London maps which help you identify where the Elizabeth line ticket halls are situated in relation to local businesses and landmarks. Additional directional signage for exits and interchanges is situated on the platform screen directly across from cross passages. 


PLATFORM SCREENS AND TOTEMS

Canary Wharf Elizabeth line station_343217

A consistent design, incorporating enhanced lighting and signage strategies, helps to clear the platforms and passageways of clutter and create a quality passenger experience. Platform screens and totems are key to providing this uncluttered experience for passengers. In each of the new underground stations, full-height platform edge screens:

  • separate the platform space from the tracks, enhancing safety
  • help to regulate heat within the station
  • provide service information above each door
  • provide lighting
  • provide directional signage
  • house multiple station systems such as CCTV, antennas and speakers

Similar to the multi-functionality of platform screens, totems have a number of uses, including providing:

  • an LED luminaire which uplights the ceiling 
  • a speaker
  • directional signage to the platforms
  • glazed cladding with space for roundels or directional signage to lifts, the exit or interchanges
  • emergency lighting
  • tape barriers
  • a low voltage power socket

Many of the features synonymous with a railway - such as seating, signage, communications and fire safety equipment, handrails, screens, escalators and lifts – use a set of common parts that employ a clean design language and robust materials to create a consistent and familiar feel for the line. All of these consistent elements have been engineered to be tough and long-lasting.


ADAPTING COMMON DESIGN ACROSS ALL 41 STATIONS

It was important that every Elizabeth line station felt like part of a family of stations. The mined Elizabeth line stations include a number of common design elements which were developed to be adaptable across the entire line. 

These common components are robust and include seating, balustrades and handrails, standard gateline and ticketing facilities, help points, signage and the iconic purple roundels. These elements help to provide a coherent passenger environment across all spaces, above and below ground. 

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