New North-South line: Future of Amsterdam lies underground

Urbanization | thyssenkrupp Elevator delivers 120 units for Dutch subway project.

It’s been a dream of many Amsterdam residents for years – a subway line connecting the historical old town with the northern and southern parts of the city, serving hundreds of thousands of commuters every day. The new North-South line (“Noord/Zuidlijn”) is currently being built beneath the city’s canals and half-timbered houses, the river Amstel and the IJ lake. The line will cover a distance of 9.7 kilometers and will have two overground and six underground stations. With the first trains due to start service in early 2017, the project represents a challenge for man and machine – at depths of up to 39 meters.

For nearly twelve years the ground below the Dutch capital has resembled a beehive, with structural and civil engineers, concreters and tunnel drillers coming and going every day to realize one of the Netherlands’ most extraordinary and challenging projects. Adverse conditions such as unexpected obstacles in the soil, erosion and subsidence beneath canal houses, and multiple cost increases turned the schedule on its head and time again. But as of a few months ago, things have been running smoothly in the tunnels and stations of the new North-South line. The first points and tracks hint at the route, freshly concreted platforms and brand new escalators highlight the unfinished stations.

Netherlands’ longest escalator

A total of 120 units from thyssenkrupp Elevator will be installed at seven stations on the new cross-city line: 25 elevators, four moving walkways, and 92 escalators. They include the longest escalators in the country: six in total, each 47 meters long and with a rise of 19.57 meters. Broken down into 24 separate parts and wrapped in protective film, the XXL escalators were delivered by truck from Hamburg to Amsterdam and installed in the Vijzelgracht station in mid-May.

Click here to see a time-lapse video of the installation on YouTube:

The longest elevators in the Netherlands have already been installed and will soon be used by tens of thousands of commuters every day. © Gé Dubbelman / thyssenkrupp Elevator

“Our team did a fantastic job of installing the longest escalators in Netherlands,” says Harry Beukeveld, escalator project manager at thyssenkrupp Liften. “It was a great example of cooperation, including with our partner VIA. Everyone worked hand in hand to ensure each step and each phase of the installation went smoothly. My personal highlight: For the first time ever in Holland we used trolleys to transport the escalators to their final destination by rail – a premiere for me after 24 years with thyssenkrupp.”

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By road, rail and air: The transportation routes of the 92 escalators are just as spectacular as the Dutch subway project itself. © Gé Dubbelman

A “cathedral” beneath the central station

In terms of size and architecture, the most impressive stop will be the one below Amsterdam central railway station, which has already been nicknamed “The Cathedral”. Here alone, 18 escalators, two elevators and four moving walks from thyssenkrupp Elevator will transport passengers quickly, safely – and efficiently.

The new subway station below Amsterdam central station will feature 18 escalators, two elevators and four moving walks from thyssenkrupp Elevator. It has already been nicknamed “The Cathedral”. © Gé Dubbelman

“One of the main reasons we won the contract was the high energy efficiency classes of our products,” says Eric Lamers, head of operations at thyssenkrupp Liften. “This major project is a flagship for us and will increase thyssenkrupp’s brand recognition on the Dutch market.”

Involved in the design phase

Not just the project itself, but also the way it is being handled is something special: As a design-build project, planning and construction are carried out almost in parallel. In addition there is just one contract between the client and the contractor, who is responsible for execution planning, choice of methods and performance of the work. As a result, colleagues from thyssenkrupp Liften were also involved in the design phase for over one and a half years. Since the start of construction work the engineers involved in the various parts of the project have shared a joint design office, which simplifies communications and ensures building work proceeds smoothly.

The job of our Elevator colleagues in Amsterdam is not yet complete: A project team of six employees plus an experienced installation team are still working hard with their various partners to bring this mammoth project to a successful conclusion. Among other things they are currently involved in installing the thyssenkrupp units at “Rokin” station.

Proud of their work in Amsterdam: Back row (from left to right) E. Adriaans, T. Schreurs, J. Eikelboom, H. Beukeveld, G. de Gelder, J. Vermoen; Front row (from left to right) M. Wartinger (CEO), L. van der Schelling, E. Lamers, E. Bakker; Not present: J. Postma © thyssenkrupp Elevator

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