Posted on 17/02/17

New Cycle Hub Encourages Commuters to Get on Their Bike.

In December of 2016 a new and bespoke Cycle Hub was Officially Opened in Gravesend for the benefit of the local community and commuters.

Southeastern Rail awarded the project to Walker Construction as principle contractor to design and build a new state of the art Cycle Hub at Gravesend train station. The scheme demonstrated a commitment and substantial investment to the local community and commuters.

The funding for the project came from key stakeholders to enable Walker Construction to deliver a new cycle hub building over two floors that offers a cycle hire shop with a maintenance workshop for repairs, cycle hire and sales charging facilities for both Brompton and Electric Bikes. There is spaces for 180 bicycles on bespoke cycle racks in the main building and a further 44 spaces located under the main building. The cycle hub also offers a DIY stand with a set of standard cycle maintenance tools, including a cycle pump and tyre repair kit and facilities to lock away cycle helmets and accessories.

The key stakeholders for this project included, Southeastern Rail, Network Rail, Department for Transport, Kent County Council, Gravesend Borough Council and the Cyclopark Trust to facilitate and encourage cycling as a preferred method of transport in the local area.

The main design of the building was carried out by Walker Construction’s in-house design team, WSS. WSS worked collaboratively with the procurement and delivery teams through to construction and completion. Once planning consent was granted by the local authority and Network Rail approved the landlords consent application from WSS, the works were started on site on 22nd February 2016.

The construction work was challenging throughout, due to its location by the main access road (Rathmore Road) and behind platform 1. Control measures were agreed in advance and incorporated within the construction phase to allow maxim output of work without imposing on the access road or platform.

The main embankment was excavated to expose the footprint of the building under the watchful eye of the local archaeologist and ecologist. Reinforced concrete retaining walls were installed including concrete foundations for the building.

The new drainage was installed and incorporated both surface water and foul connections. The surface water for the new building was captured and diverted through pipework into a new pre-designed soakaway system using recycled plastic crates thus reducing any environmental impact. Whilst excavating for the new soakaway an old train line was uncovered and turn table that was of interest to the local archaeologist. Due to the historical importance of the find, a new location for the soakaway was needed so as to protect and preserve the historical find.

The steel frame and floor sections for the building was installed using a 40 tonne mobile crane under a contract lift by a specialist lifting company. 

Perimeter access scaffolding was installed to the building allowing access to install the new timber roof and single ply Sarnafil roof covering. The glass curtain walling sections were installed onto the steel frame including the glazed sliding doors at each end of the building. The glazing was also covered with anti-graffiti film with a designed manifestation. 

The main floor was constructed using non-slip lightweight GRP sections as part of an environmental and financial value engineering exercise. The workshop floor was constructed using beam and block with floor screed.

The building was fitted out with internal and external lighting, power, CCTV, IT and CIS (Customer Information Screens) and alarms. The building is also fitted with access controls to the doors for customers to leave their bicycles and accessories in a safe and secure environment.   

The external works included access steps and ramps (DDA compliant) to and from the building, brick retaining walls with decorative steel railings, decorative paving and slabs, handrails, signage, lighting, footpaths and surfacing works.

To ensure that the contract ran smoothly and efficiently the project was allocated to an experienced project manager Clint Martin; who understands the challenges of working in rail environment. Clint had recently completed an extremely high profile project at Crystal Palace Station (September 2015 Issue) and was the right choice to manage this project to completion.

Clint was involved in every aspect of the project including the production of the main construction programme, design buildability, risk management, procurement labour plant and materials, construction phase and finally handing over the completed building to the client.

The local community have been extremely supportive of the project and have been left a legacy.  Walker Construction UK (ltd) are proud to have been a major part of supplying this scheme and hope that its stands the test of time being used as one of the largest Cycle Hub’s in the UK.