Blackfriars Station – Zone Manager

London Blackfriars station in London, UK, has undergone a major redevelopment programme to become a landmark station of operator Network Rail. Construction on the redevelopment project, estimated to cost £350m, began in 2008 and has finally completed in 2013

The redevelopment of this a London Underground station is part of the congestion-busting Thames Link Project initiated by Network Rail and First Capital Connect to increase the service capacity and frequency of trains on one of the busiest and fastest-growing passenger routes in London.

Blackfriars is visited by more than 44,000 passengers a day and serves as a main terminus between Kent and South London. The station was redeveloped to provide better and improved interchange services between National Rail and London Underground services.

The project included the creation of a common entrance at the north end of the rail bridge spanning the River Thames, increasing the length of the platforms to accommodate 50% longer trains, the refurbishment of the Underground station and the construction of a new station on the South Bank of the Thames for the first time in 120 years.

Blackfriars Station was one of the first projects to take advantage of the hosted Zone Manager System.  Initially Balfour Beatty IT wanted to run  Zone Manager in-house.  However the internal IT costs for database management, security, backup etc. soon exceeded the cost of the Zone Manager system itself.  David Sked, the Logistics Manager at the time,  decided that the hosted system was clearly the sensible option.

The system was up and running with a couple of weeks and following on from the startup training  the system was soon in heavy use. Bookings were made by the logistics team and the web interface was used by Balfour Beatty staff .  A display screen on site showed forthcoming bookings to the project team and contractors.  Zone Manager wasn’t just used for deliveries. Heavy use of it was made to manage the various cranes and fork lifts on the site.

In the 3 or so years that Zone Manager was in use over 37,000 bookings were made! One can only imagine the reams of paper that this must have saved, never mind the logistics teams time! The detailed records that Zone Manager automatically provides proved very useful in countering additional cost claims from contractors stating delays and unavailability of equipment.