DutchAmsterdam.nl — The main entrance of Amsterdam’s Central Station has been re-opened.
The entrance was closed in 2004 due to construction work for the North/South metro line (Noord/Zuidlijn), which runs — eventually — from Amsterdam-North underneath Central Station to the city’s financial district in the south.
Originally the work was meant to take just three years, but the problem-plagued project met with a plethora of delays.
“We’ve hit some bumps consisting of technical, procedural and financial matters. They all needed to be overcome,” says Arie van Wijngaarden, area director of Stationseiland (literally, Station Island — the name is a reference to the fact that Central Station is situated on three man-made islands).
The construction of the subway tunnel under the historic station building — which opened in 1889 — is a complex operation.
The building itself rests on a foundation of 8,687 wooden piles which have been driven deep into the muddy and sandy soil. Construction workers have replaced many of the wooden piles underneath the center of the building with steel piles. During this project a specially-made concrete structure above the metro tunnel carried the weight of building.
The train station is a listed monument, Van Wijngaarden points out. That means “every screw you want to place elsewhere must be thought about and discussed.”
Initially the Noord/Zuidlijn was expected to open in 2011, at a cost of 1,46 billion Euro. Currently it is expected to be operational by 2017 — at the earliest. By then it will have cost 3,1 billion Euro.
Cost overruns were caused by — among other things — a tender process that did not make clear precisely what would be involved in the project, construction problems that caused historic houses to subside.
In December 2009 an investigative committee concluded that the city of Amsterdam should never have approved the construction of the North/Southline.
Earlier that year another committee said stopping the project was not an option as doing so would be too expensive and leave the city with the problems the project was meant to alleviated.
30 Additional Projects in and around Central Station
At any rate, at Central Station most of the subway construction work above ground has now been finished, making it possible to re-open the station’s main entrance.
At first only three of the five doors will be opened, since renovation work on the building’s façade continues.
Matter of fact, work in and around the station is expected to continue until at least 2020. Coördinatie Stationseiland took advantage of the metro construction project to perform a large-scale upgrade of the entire Station Island.
Currently some 30 projects are underway, including a new bus terminal behind the station, a make-over of the area in front of the station, construction of a tunnel for bicyclists and pedestrians, and the restoration of the station’s central hall to the original design of its architect, Pierre Cuyper.
Shops and offices now located on the first floor will make place for a gallery that will make it possible to see the trains from within the central hall.
In addition, the central and eastern tunnels will be spruced up and connecting passageways will be enlarged. More shops will be introduced, both inside the station and at IJhal, a shopping center to be situated under the new bus terminal.
Some 260,000 people a day use Amsterdam Central Station. In a few years time that number will have increased to 300,000.
Amsterdam Central Station: video details construction projects
This video report, provided by the North/Southline project, gives a fascinating look not just at the subway construction process, but also at the history and future of Amsterdam Central Station.
Also shown: how the subway project is a boon for archeologists, who have found all manner of historical items in the sandy soil.
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