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North/South Line Amsterdam, Underground station CS on Station

Island Complex building techniques on an artificial island

Ing. R.M. van der Ploeg, ir. J. Dorreman and ir. J.C.W.M. de Wit, Adviesbureau Noord/Zuidlijn / Royal Haskoning

Since late 2002 the new metro line in Amsterdam is under construction. The North/South Metro Line in
Amsterdam, containing eight stations and measuring 9-km in length, will connect the northern and
southern suburbs with the city centre (figure 1). Especially in the city centre designs requirements
related to the protection of the historic structures and limitation of disruption resulted in tailor made
design solutions. The design of the underground station at Amsterdams Central Station (CS) was
largely determined by local environmental constraints. The underground station is being built in front of,
behind and also underneath the historic central railway station. Damage to the listed station building and
delays to the different passengers and existing traffic flows are not acceptable. A further complication in the
design was the soft and highly variable subsoil. This paper discusses the background of the design of
the CS underground station.

The CS underground station of the North/South Line is on Station Island (figure 1). This station will be
an integral part of the biggest public transport hub in the Netherlands and will provide transfer facilities
between local, regional and international public transport systems. Currently over 200,000 passengers
per day use the present transport amenities. Building an underground station in such a location can be
seen as one of the greatest challenges of the construction of the North/South Line. The underground
station consists of three parts (see figure 1 and 2):
1. the underground station concourse under the Square Voorplein in front of CS
2. the northern entrance under De Ruijterkade
3. the platform part underneath the railway station Amsterdam CS
The top of track level of the station is NAP -15.2 m (Amsterdam Ordnance Datum).

De Ruijterkade Amsterdam CS
(railway station)


Figure 1 . Aerial view of Station Island

Ground conditions
The soil profile at the site differs greatly from the characteristic Amsterdam soil profile. Station Island is an
artificial island that was built at the end of the nineteenth century for the construction of Amsterdam CS
railway station for Dutch Railways. The island was created by filling in a channel area in the River IJ with
sand. At the Station Island location the first Amsterdam underground sand layer is completely missing and
the second sand layer is only partially present. The subsoil can be classified as poor.
Figure 2: Plan and longitudinal
section metro station CS

Square in front of railway station Amsterdam CS Voorplein

The underground stations concourse is being built under the main square in front of Amsterdam CS.
There are entrances on ground level (NAP + 3m) on both sides of the main entrance of the listed
railway station and one at the south side of the station (in the direction of the city centre) leading to the
main underground concourse (NAP 2.7 m) see figure 3. A direct link is being constructed from
the platform level of the North/South Line (NAP 14.2 m) to the central underground concourse and the
platforms of the East Line (NAP 8.2 m). A distinction can be made between (figure 3):
the deep part being the central underground concourse leading to the North/South Line platform
level, including the connection to the immersed platform tunnel under Amsterdam CS;
the middle deep part for the connection to the existing East Line;
the entrances from the central underground concourse to ground level;

East line

Middle deep

Deep part

Entrance metro tunnel

Figure 3 : Overview station part Voorplein

Deep part of the building pit
The deep section extends over a large part of the main square in front of the railway station (figure 3)
and is being built using the cut & cover method. After the diaphragm walls, bored piles and jetgrout strut
is installed, a deck or roof structure will be placed over the building pit. The deck is supported by the
diaphragm walls and bored piles. The excavation of the building pit does not take place until the deck
has been completed. As a consequence the main square is available for the urban environment sooner.
The walls and roof of the building excavation are being constructed in three main phases such that
passenger flows and tram and bus traffic can be maintained, making use of diversions if necessary.

Diaphragm walls, 1.2m thick, are being used for the building pit. They extend down to the sealing
Eemclay layer (NAP -31 m). This means that the building pit can be excavated under dry conditions
down to a depth of about NAP 18.5 m. A number of diaphragm wall panels are being extended down to
the 3 sand layer (NAP 60.0 m) to support the deck. The deck, which is 0.9 m thick, will not only be
supported by the diaphragm walls but also by bored piles extending down to the 3 sand layer. In the
upper part of the bored piles (from excavation level to surface level) steel column will be installed. Efforts
have been made to limit the number of columns because of the spatial effect that has to be realised
within the underground space. The location of each bored pile including steel column correspond with
the position of a column in the underground concourse as much as possible. Each column supports
about 100 m of roof, which results in column loads (compressive) of approximately 6000 kN. Two large
openings will be made in the roof for delivering and removing plant, equipment and materials in the
construction phase.

Figure 4 Cross section over deep and middle deep part including connection to metro East Line

During the excavation process the diaphragm walls are supported horizontally by the roof, a framework of
concrete struts at NAP 7.5 m and a grouted strut at approximately NAP -21 m. Additional steel struts will be
installed at sensitive locations at NAP 2.7 m. The framework of concrete struts will be prestressed using
jacks in order to limit the horizontal deformation of the diaphragm walls and the effects of shrinkage.
These jacks can be adjusted during construction on the basis of monitoring, i.e. carrying out deformation
measurements on the building pit. The grouted strut is being installed from ground level after the
diaphragm walls and bored piles, but before the roof is built. After the building pit has been excavated,
100 tonne ground anchors will be installed in the 3 sand layer at NAP -68 m. The 2 m thick deep floor slab
of reinforced will then be cast. A secondary cast in situ inner wall, approximately 0.8 m thick, will be cast
against the diaphragm wall, thus creating a composite structural wall about 2 m thick (figure 4). Then the ground
anchors will be prestressed, ballast concrete will be installed and the remaining part of the structure will be
constructed. The floor of the underground station concourse is made before the concrete strut framework
can be removed. This floor consists of a diamond patterned upward sloping beamed grid floor. Together
with the bored piles and the deep diaphragm wall panels, the anchors provide the vertical equilibrium in the final
phase as compensation for the upward water pressure and the swelling pressure from the subsoil. The
phasing of the construction is shown diagrammatically in figure 5.

Roof Roof Roof Roof Roof

Strut Strut Strut
Deep Deep
floor slab floor slab

Grout Grout Grout Grout Grout Grout

strut strut strut strut strut strut
Grout Grout

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Phase 5 Phase 6

Installation Installation Installation + Excavation 2 Construction Construction

Diaphragm wall Roof Prestressing deep floor slab floor concourse
Bored piles Excavation 1 Strut Cast in situ Removal
Grout strut inner wall Strut

Figure 5 :Construction phasing of deep part

The design calculations for the roof and the deep floor were performed using a 2-D plate program, which
was used to analyse a range of support conditions. This included taking into account the variation in
stiffness of the bored piles and diaphragm walls, which can be subjected to both compressive (prior to
the application of water pressure under the deep floor) and tensile loads (final phase). As far as the roof
is concerned, the variation was limited by providing the top of the steel columns in the bored piles with a
jack structure that can be used to correct vertical displacement differences. The design calculations for
the deep floor moreover took into account the subsoil swelling, on the one hand as a load on the floor
and on the other as one of the parameters that determines the spring stiffness of the bored piles and the
diaphragm walls.
The floor of the underground concourse floor consists of a grid of beams in a diamond shaped pattern.
During the final phase this floor also acts as a horizontal support for the walls. The calculations for the
concourse floor were carried out using a 3-D frame program. Here too a variation in support conditions
was taken into account.

The designs of the diaphragm walls and the strut structures are directly related to each other. The
calculations of the diaphragm walls are performed using the Msheet program(non linear beam program),
whereby the resulting strut forces including prestressing were used as input for the design of the strut
frameworks; the analyses were carried out with a 2D frame program. However, the strut forces vary
around the perimeter of the building pit. This is caused on the one hand by the varying quality of the soil.
A more important factor, on the other hand, is the fact that the retaining heights vary locally. This is
particularly marked on the northern side of the pit by the exaction of the building pit for the immersed
tunnel and on the eastern side of by the excavation of the building pit of the middle deep part
(connection part to the existing metro), as a result of which an asymmetric situation exists. Theoretically
the deep excavation appears to have the tendency to shift to the northeast. As was stated above the
diaphragm wall design and the strut design are related to each other. The spring stiffness of the strut
supporting the diaphragm wall used in the Msheet program is depending on the deformations of strut
itself and the displacement of the strut structure as a result of pre described asymmetric loading
situation. The strut load again depends on the spring stiffness. An iterative calculation process is needed
because of the mutual interdependence.

Connection to the East Line and the underground entrances

The middle deep part is being built in order to create an underground connection between the
North/South Line and the East Line(figure 3 and 4). In contrast to the deep part, the option chosen here
was a building pit with diaphragm walls 1 m thick down to about NAP -20 m in combination with
underwater concrete (NAP 12.5 m) and tension piles (vibro-combination piles to approximately NAP -
29 m). The diaphragm walls connect to the underground East Line structure, a pneumatic caisson. The
caisson is supported in a horizontal direction by a steel strut framework at ground level and by the
underwater concrete that connects to the cutting edge of the caisson (figure 4). Besides providing
optimal support, this also produces watertight connections on all sides. The final structure will be made
from reinforced concrete in which the diaphragm walls will be integrated.

The entrances to the underground will be executed as reinforced concrete structures in propped building
pits of sheetpiles. Although limited in size, each entrance has its own specific problems with regard to
construction phasing at ground level and coordination with and connection to existing and new

De Ruijterkade part of the station

Figure 6 . Situation at De Ruijterkade at the start of the construction (view from west to east)

The CS underground station has a second main exit on the northern side of the railway station
Amsterdam CS at the De Ruijterkade (figure 6). Escalators bring passengers from the platform level at
NAP -14.2 m to a concourse level at NAP 9.2 m. From there escalators go sideways in two directions
to ground level (figure 7). The special feature of this section of the stations is that the design has been
integrated into the IJSEI (IJ-side Station Island) project. This project encompasses the development of
the south bank of the River IJ at ground level, with a two two-lane road tunnels at level-1 (former De
Ruijterkade) and a newly build bus station above it (level +1).
Figure 7: Cross section station part De Ruijterkade

There are the following elements in the design of this section of the station (figures 1, 2 and 7):
deep part; this section contains the underground metro part, the service areas, emergency shafts,
flood barrier with control room etc.;
middle deep part; this section contains the escalator parts leading to ground level and parts of the
IJSEI road tunnels on both sides of the escalator section;
cofferdam on the northern side of this station part.
The total underground station part (deep, medium depth and shallow sections) will be implemented as a
monolithic reinforced concrete structure.

The foundations are made up of 1.2 m and 1.5 m diameter bored piles that extend down to the third
sand layer (NAP -60 m). Inside the deep section the road tunnels are box girders supported by the outer
walls of the deep and middle deep sections and by columns in the centre of the deep section. It was
decided to use a 3-D mathematical model for the
design calculations because of the relatively
complicated transfer of forces, which takes place
via the primary components in two horizontal
directions. Soil and water pressures (horizontal
and vertical), the structures own weight, dead and
live loads, loads from the bus station and roof
above it, loads from the swelling of the subsoil,
and imposed deformations such as shrinkage and
temperature were taken into account. The building
history was also included. An important aspect of
this was that the structural behaviour is easy to
check using simple 2-D models. The 3D- model
used is illustrated in figure 8.

Figure 8 : 3D FE model

The De Ruijterkade section of the station will be built in an open building pit consisting of compartments
for the deep, middle deep and shallow sections. Use is made of propped combi-walls (deep section) and
sheet piling (shallow and medium depth sections) that extend to the sealing Eem clay layer. The building
pit will be excavated wet, after which an underwater concrete strut will be installed. Thereafter the
building pit can be pumped dry and the final reinforced concrete structure can be built. Before the deep
building pit is pumped, the tunnel element for the platform section will be transported afloat through the
pit (see further on in this paper).
A cofferdam approximately 15 m wide will be constructed on the northern side of the station part De
Ruijterkade. This cofferdam consists of two combi-walls connected by anchors. After the soft upper
layer has been removed, the space between the combi-walls will be filled with sand. The purpose of the
cofferdam is to ensure the stability of Station Island during the construction of the North/South Line and
the IJSEI project. The stability of the island has been relatively unsteady since its creation around 1900.
Shortly after its completion there were even several land slides on the northern side of the island. The
excavation of the North/South Line and IJSEI building pits are taking place on the edge of the island.
There is a resulting horizontal load over the building pit (in northern direction, away from the island)
because the ground level on opposite sides is not the same. This load is absorbed by the cofferdam so
that the stability of the island is assured. In the final phase the cofferdam will be a part of the widened
southern bank of the IJ.

The phasing of the construction of the De Ruijterkade section of the station is relatively complicated.
The implementation of this section must be completely harmonized with the execution of the IJSEI
project and the immersion of the tunnel element under Amsterdam CS. The cofferdams and the northern
section of the building excavation including the bored piles will be realised during the first phase. At the
same time a temporary bridge will be built over the deep building pit as an extension to the cofferdams
in connection with the rerouting of De Ruijterkade (in phase 2). At the same time the northern phase of
IJSEI will be realised, in which the cofferdams, the northern road tunnel and the northern half of the bus
station will be constructed on both sides of the North/South Line. As part of this the jetties and ferries will
be moved in phases. During the second construction phase the current De Ruijterkade is rerouted over
the cofferdam and afterwards the southern phase of both the North/South Line and the IJSEI project will
be implemented. With regard to the North/South Line this concerns the building pits, bored piles,
underwater concrete and the concrete works for the road tunnel sections and the entrances to the
underground. During this phase temporary bus bridges are also built across the North/South Line
construction site in order to connect the completed halves of the bus station with each other. Part of the
bus station can then be put into operation. During phase 3 the deep building excavation is extended by
the construction of a lock pit. The tunnel element for the platform section can then be transported afloat
and immersed under Amsterdam CS. The transverse sheet piles of the deep section are positioned
during phase 4 and the concrete works for the final structure in the deep part can then be executed.

Platform part of the metro station

The platform section of the CS underground station will be built under Amsterdam CS. This includes:
the concrete structure for the platform section, which is an immersed tunnel;
the wet building pit (including auxiliary support structures and supplementary relief facilities) that has
to be dug underneath the railway station and in which the tunnel has to be immersed. See [2] for
more details of the wet building pit. This paper only addresses the immersed tunnel.

The choice for an immersed tunnel was

made because it limits the extent of the
construction activities at the Central
Station, where there will be a very high
level of activity. After all, the submerged
element (l x w x h = 136 x 21 x 7.9 m,
figure 9) will be produced in a construction
dock elsewhere. The limited lowering of the
water level within the building pit is a
second advantage. As a result of this, the
building pit wall is only subjected to a
restricted load (ground). Furthermore, the
chance of influencing the water level
outside the building pit and consequently
on the vulnerable wooden pile foundations
is minimal.

Figure 9. Cross section over historic station

building with immersed tunnel
In the platform tunnel the middle support point will be a row of columns (and not a continuous wall) in
connection with social safety and surveillance during the service. The building pit of the approach
structure of the tunnel under the River IJ will be used as a construction dock. The three tunnel elements
for the River IJ crossing of the North/South Line will be made here as well. After the element has been
produced and towed out, it will be stored temporarily at a quay in the Afrikahaven in the western part of
the port area. The immersion process cannot be described as standard (figure 10). This is because of
the final location of the tunnel element, namely some 20 m underneath the railway station. As part of this
account needs to be taken of:
the auxiliary support structures for parts of the station above the building pit, the undersides of which
are just above the groundwater table;
a strut layer at NAP 4.5 m for the composite building pit wall walls over a length of about 40 m
under the station building on the southern side of Amsterdam CS (see figure 9 and 10).

Figure 10: Immersion process in four stages

1. floating transport of tunnel trough lock pit and building pit De Ruijterjade
2. shift element underneath railway station at a lowered water table (2.5 m) up to struts
composite building pit wall underneath station building
3. immersion phase 1 below level struts station building and shift to the far south end
4. immersion phase 2 (to its final position)
A lock pit has been made in the River IJ in order to enable immersion while maintaining a free water
table. The tunnel element will be towed in from the northern side into the lock pit and building pit of the
De Ruijterkade section of the station, which is contiguous with the building pit under Amsterdam CS
railway station. After the lock pit has been closed off, the water level in the lock pit / building pit can be
lowered to about NAP -3 m and the element can be pulled up to the station building of Amsterdam CS.
Here there is an obstacle in the form of the strut layer at NAP 4.5 m, which supports the building pit
wall (composite building pit wall). The element, hanging from flat pontoons, will be immersed to a level
such that the upper side of the element is marginally below the strut framework. The element can now
be shifted horizontally underwater over a distance of about 40 m in a southerly direction. Then it will be
immersed deeper until it reaches the reception structure of the underground station part below the
square Voorplein in front of Amsterdam CS. In the first instance the element will be supported on
temporary support points. It will then be provided with a final foundation of san using an sand flow
method. An ground fill will then be realised on top of the tunnel and, after a certain period for settlement,
the joints between the element and the underground station sections below the Voorplein and De
Ruijterkade will be made. Since the ground load on top of the tunnel is substantial no shear key
connections will be made between the piled station structures and the immersed tunnel. This would
result in support forces / shear forces that are too high. Differential settlements that may occur can be
corrected within the ballast bed for the tracks. Water tightness is guaranteed by means of special rubber
tunnel water stops (Gina and Omega).

Complexity of the construction challenge

The design and implementation of the underground station, under a major railway station in full
operation that is located on Station Island, which poor stability, is one of the many challenges associated
with the North/South Line. A balanced choice has been made between different construction techniques
and phasing options, which in turn have reverberations in regard to complex design calculations. This
article provides insight into the design, which has now progressed to the implementation phase.

1. De Wit, J.C.W.M. en M. Hutteman, Noord/Zuidlijn Amsterdam, Special aspects of the preliminary
design of the deep stations in the city centre present design status, Cement 1998 no. 10.
2. Duijvestijn, A.M.W., B.J. Schat, A canal under Central Station, Building pit Noord/Zuidlijn, passage
Amsterdam CS. Cement 2001 no. 3.