Euston is the fourth busiest station in London with more than 70m people using the station every year – as well as almost 40m rail passengers annually, a further 30m people use the station to shop, eat and drink as well as to access London Underground services.

In 2015 Euston station was to undergo major refurbishment works to the concourse area of the station.  To expand the retail offering to travellers a new mezzanine level was to be built, making way for new shops and restaurants.  The proposed changes were designed to provide more space and a better atmosphere for passengers as well as an attractive mix of food, drink and shopping options for people travelling to or through the station.

Obviously such major changes have a major effect on the PAVA installation.  B.L.Acoustics Ltd have maintained Euston station (as well as all the major mainline stations) for over 15 years.  Our expert knowledge of the site and the existing system was important when it came to engineering the changes required.

Project Scope

Our scope was to design and install a solution for the PAVA.  Included within the project was; the design of the VA system to meet compliance with the relevant fire and Network Rail standards, the installation of all new VA equipment, cable and shop interfacing, the modification of the central equipment to provide additional outputs for new VA zones, the upgrading of the central equipment to accept expansion.

As part of this project we completed the GRIP design process for the complex acoustic environment of the Euston concourse. In order to ensure the installation met with Network Rail standards, we built an acoustic model of the space and proved our design would meet the required performance.

Installation Challenges

Our work on the project was completed in conjunction with major construction works. This meant planning ahead and allowing a good degree of flexibility in our planned work. On a number of occasions our programme was impacted by delays to the construction project. We were able to minimize the delay to our project by working smart and bringing forward other elements of the project where possible to ensure progress was still made. For example; originally our cables were to route through an area that was found to contain asbestos. We were able to move part of this route and continue with the project despite the lengthy delay caused by the discovery.

Maintaining Operation

Euston station is busy.  This means that normal operation of the station must be maintained at all times.  The majority of our public facing work was carried out during the night after the station had closed. This meant no impact was felt in the day to day running of the station. The other major consideration that could cause disruption to the station was the issue of modifying a live VA system.

The project called for the installation of an additional rack, amplification and critically the upgrade of the control equipment. This was completed overnight and tested thoroughly by BL Acoustics.  We ensured this was a success by creating a new connection panel designed to interface between the old ASL VAR20 routers and the new ASL VIPEDIAs. This allowed for risk free ‘over and back’ testing and meant should the changeover prove unsuccessful we would be able to return the system to its original setup quickly and easily. This innovation was key to completing the work and satisfying Network Rail that the risk of this task had been adequately mitigated.

Following a successful changeover, witness testing was carried out with the shift station manager to ensure the main station PAVA remained in operation and performing correctly prior to the station reopening that morning.