Network Rail

Building Use


Procurement Method


Why hire from Portakabin

Project Features

  • Three-storey building
  • Offices
  • Mess rooms
  • Toilets and showers for up to 130 people
  1. The Requirements

    Major refurbishment work at London Bridge station as part of the Thameslink project meant that Network Rail’s maintenance building had to be demolished. With space in short supply in central London, Network Rail identified a suitable site for a new Maintenance Delivery Unit (MDU) at its Southwark depot. However, the site posed a significant challenge for any building supplier, being located above arches on a viaduct surrounded by buildings and busy railway lines.

  2. The Solution

    Sarah Parr, Network Rail Project Manager, says: “We chose Portakabin to supply the new MDU building because they understood the challenges of the site very well, having built the adjacent project offices, and their building quality and service assurances met all of our requirements. A modular building was perfect for this tricky location, since it requires minimal groundworks, generates almost no waste and requires fewer material deliveries to site.”

    Portakabin worked closely with Network Rail to develop a building that overcame the restrictions of the site but also delivered office and welfare facilities of the highest standard. The 1650m2, three storey building included offices, mess rooms, toilets and showers for up to 130 people.

The interior was fitted out to Network Rail corporate standards, including a special lift installed to the company’s strict specifications. Portakabin acted as principal contractor for the project, managing all logistics, service provision and fitting out on behalf of Network Rail.

Portakabin installed air conditioning systems, heat-recovery ventilation and a host of advanced security technology. To meet local authority planning needs, the exterior was clad in sculpted aluminium sheets and the windows were a range of non-standard sizes to create a unique and interesting appearance.

The installation was logistically very complex in this central London location. Modules had to be delivered on six consecutive nights to avoid road congestion, and then lifted into place in two stages. One crane lifted the modules from road level to the viaduct, and another was used to position them in the building.

This was certainly not a straightforward job. I was particularly concerned about the two-stage lifting process so close to other buildings, but Portakabin took it all in their stride and completed the job safely and professionally within a week. The effort that Portakabin put into completing such a complex project right on schedule, despite all the extras we added, was tremendous.

Sarah Parr, Network Rail Project Manager, Network Rail

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