If an entire infrastructure project is to be buried underground then it is obvious that the lighting will be of paramount importance. This is certainly the case with London’s new £14.8 billion 42km Crossrail underground railway, which will significantly reduce journey times across London for millions when it opens in 2019.
The decision to light all the stations, escalator shafts and concourses with LED lighting showed great foresight by Transport for London: at the time that the decision was made, LED solutions were still in the earlier stages of acceptance.
“The decision to go LED on Crossrail was based on industry evidence that the benefits of reduced energy consumption and maintenance requirements would deliver a reduction in whole-life costs for the project;” said Paul Kerrigan, Crossrail MEP engineer (lead electrical).
The brief was for the lighting to emphasise the spatial envelope rather than draw attention to the luminaires themselves. The company tasked with meeting both the design and performance requirements was FUTURE Designs and they called on long-term partner Tridonic to help create a suitable bespoke lighting solution.
FUTURE Design’s concept uses the light-grey, matt-textured, glass-reinforced concrete lining of the station and escalator tunnels to reflect light on to the passenger areas, to create a sense of spaciousness within the underground environment.
FUTURE Designs has created a range of new products to meet the spec, IKON, IKON EMERGENCY and PLINTH. All these luminaires have been designed specifically for Crossrail and address the technical difficulties presented with the design brief for the challenging environment.
The space between each of the totems bearing the
Testing and prototyping for this specific section of the design took more than 350 hours and a series of original prototypes were built so that thermal tests could be carried out to establish that the heatsink would control the LED temperature correctly and safely.
IKON EMERGENCY luminaires are designed to illuminate automatically in the event of a power failure. The design features high and low-level lights mounted on the sides of wayfinding totems and horizontal luminaires mounted on the front faces of the totems to spread light in all directions and throw the light across a large distance on the floors.
PLINTH uplighters with reduced glare for low-level fixtures are located within the deck area between individual escalators. The positioning of the LED at a low level in the fixture and a black louvre at high level ensures dark light anti-glare illumination. The luminaire is sealed to IP68 with a high level clear glass panel.
One of the challenges with this fitting was ensuring that faces would be illuminated when viewed on CCTV but at the same time ensuring that passengers were not dazzled as they travelled on the escalators.
Leon Ellis, Technical Director, FUTURE Designs, said; “We have worked with Tridonic on numerous projects but the technical challenges we faced with these designs were very specific. We were extremely grateful for the support they provided and we all learnt something from the process that we will be able to apply on future projects.”