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Big improvements at West Railway Station
2015-02-10
By Wu Guohua

The south square and the north-south passage tunnel of Shanghai West Railway Station were open to the public on December 31, after more than five years’ construction.

Nearly 100,000 residents living on the north side of the rail track now can reach the south square and areas of Taopu Road and Caoyang Road easily by the tunnel.

It takes only three minutes for commuters to walk to the Metro Line 11 station through the “shortcut” tunnel. Thus, the north and south parts of the Zhenru Sub-center have been reconnected, with the array of services expanded.

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At the same time, underground parking space, the front square and the temporary square at the north exit of the station have been put in use. Surrounding roads closed for the construction of the station re-opened and more bus routes and stops have been added around it.

The makeover of Shanghai West Railway Station, which has been in use for 100 years, will enable the station to extend its capability as a transportation hub.

According to Zhou Bingwei, assistant to general manager of Zhenru Sub-center Company, Shanghai West Railway Station will be turned into a modern transportation hub for the Shanghai-Nanjing High-speed Railway, Metro lines, buses and taxis.

Big challenges

The passage tunnel and related construction has a total floor space of 27,000 square meters. Commuters can transfer to Metro lines 11, 15 and 21 and to the high-speed train station as a one-stop interchange station with three underground floors, according to the plan.

The three-floor underground project needed a foundation pit at least 24 meters deep, which entailed uncertain construction risks.

Another difficulty in front of Liao Huarong, deputy general manager of Zhenru Sub-center and lead planner, and his team was there were 400 high-speed trains running at 200km/h above the foundation pit every day, while Metro Line 11 was under construction. In such a space, digging a pit 80 meters wide, 100 meters long and 24 meters in depth was a very difficult mission.

Fortunately, the construction of the Shanghai-Nanjing High-Speed Railway gave Liao the chance to move the rail tracks to the side, as the train would be slowed to 80 kph during the train station renovation. That made it possible to leave enough space to dig the pit.

The centralized management and design via building information modeling (BIM) and the ratio of modification in the construction of the station was reduced by 30 percent, while its construction period was shortened by 5 percent.

Concepts of low-carbon emission are reflected in the application of green technologies and integrated traffic design. Such ideas have also been applied in resource savings, environmental protection and pollution reduction during the full life cycle as a city transportation hub.

Photovoltaic technology is also adopted in the underground passage tunnel of the south square. The round lights in the ceiling are powered by solar light, and they are the main light source for the tunnel if the weather permits.

The design could save 16,200 kilowatt hours of electricity for the west station hub every year. On cloudy or rainy days, LED lights will be used to light the tunnel.

Furthermore, solar panels on top of the entrance and exit of the underground parking lot can provide electricity not only to the hub but also to the city’s electricity network. The panels cover an area of 230 square meters, which can generate 20 kw of electricity per hour during peak hours.

Green design

Under the south square, a large water tank was installed to collect rainwater. The rainwater is treated and then used to water the greenery and clean roads in the area. It is expected to save about 16,000 cubic meters of water a year.

Special designs and practices are aimed to improve the air quality in the underground space. Carbon emission intensity of the hub will decline by an estimated 30 percent compared with a common transportation hub.

A large volume of visitors are expected to visit Shanghai via the Shanghai-Nanjing High-Speed Railway or drive directly to Shanghai West Railway Station, where they can transfer via Metro Line 11 to Shanghai Disneyland.

The renovated station is going to serve as a modern transportation hub for the development of the Zhenru Sub-center, the Putuo District and more of west Shanghai.

Such transit-oriented development, or TOD, is a mixed-use residential and commercial area designed to maximize access to public transport. The Zhenru Sub-center will attract companies in trade, distribution and production-oriented service industries and serve as a core base for their regional headquarters, which will accelerate its development as a productivity service center for the Yangtze River Delta region.

It only takes 60 minutes from Shanghai to Nanjing by the high-speed railway. By 2020, annual ridership on the Shanghai-Nanjing High-Speed Railway is expected to hit 15 million.

The Zhenru Sub-center will continue to improve its public facilities surrounding the station, which includes the construction of public squares and green areas and the integration of high-end office buildings, shopping centers, hotels and recreational facilities. A diversified network for businesses will be also set up to serve as a public center in west Shanghai.

There are three property projects now under construction in core areas of the Zhenru Sub-center, with projection completion dates in 2015, 2016 and 2018, respectively.

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