Spencer Group utilises 52-hour Network Rail Christmas blockade to ensure London Underground (LU) Finsbury Park works are delivered on time

Spencer Group (Spencer) completed its first ever project on behalf of London Underground during a 52-hour Network Rail blockade over Christmas.

Spencer was contracted in November 2014 to carry out the works at Finsbury Park Station, requiring a swift deployment of a dedicated team to ensure the project began on time and ran without delay.

The works, which were completed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, involved installing 29 cased piles (280mm diameter) to a depth of 8m on Platform 8 in preparation for a cofferdam to be used for a future project in the next 12 months. The scope of works also included the demolition of a section of an existing milk dock adjacent to the platform.

Despite the much-publicised congestion on the neighbouring Network Rail line during the Christmas period, Spencer completed the project on time, on budget and without incident.

Tim Evans, who led the project for Spencer, said: “The blockade involved a section of track from King’s Cross to Ferme Park, occupying a total of 11 contractors, so the preparation and attendance of interface meetings in advance of the blockade was quite demanding, especially as we were brought in very late to the arrangements.

“We developed a methodology to de-risk our works as much as possible by installing “starter” tubes for each pile in advance of the blockade and also probing down 8m to ensure that there were no obstructions to delay the works during the Christmas blockade.

“This paid dividends and provided our piling team with information that meant that the type of plant could be fine-tuned to give confidence that the scope of works could be completed.”
Spencer and LU secured land adjacent to the railway infrastructure at Finsbury Park to utilise as the location for the site setup during the works.

This gave the team direct access onto the tracks, enabling it to remain independent from other contractors within the blockade.

The enabling works contract at Finsbury Park Station was secured by competitive tender by Spencer and follows on from successful delivery of rail construction works for London Overground at New Cross Gate Depot and Network Rail at Gravesend which both saw significant packages of work delivered during strict access arrangements.

Spencer’s ability to deliver critical infrastructure projects in challenging environments does not extend only to the rail sector, the business has strong credentials in pioneering work on European suspension bridges, projects in operational power stations and substantial portfolio of projects delivered in operational port environments.

The current enabling works will facilitate a series of planned improvements over the coming years at Finsbury Park Tube station.