ProRail’s new train control centre

Rotterdam / Netherlands / 2014

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Rail operator ProRail will be opening its new signalling control centre today at the Cartesiusdriehoek in Utrecht. Pier Eringa, president-director at ProRail, will perform the official opening ceremony. The new signalling control centre is one of the most important centres in the railway network. De Jong Gortemaker Algra architects and engineers (dJGA) is responsible for the structural, interior, construction and landscape design.


The building, which features almost 4,500 m², is a work place for 100 employees and is the nerve centre of all ProRail's train activities in and around the Domstad (Utrecht). The design by dJGA has specifically focussed on users; the main aim is to allow them to do their jobs as effectively as possible.


The signal hall as beating heart
The signal hall is the epicentre of the new signalling control centre, and is a large open space with a surface area of circa 1,000 m² and a height of 5.20 meters. This is where ProRail's traffic controllers gain insight into what is happening on the track and in the surroundings. The ICT in the signal hall has been installed in the storey below, which means traffic controllers can continue their work undisturbed if maintenance activities are being carried out.


Design in keeping with railway setting
Extensive use of weathering steel and glass has given the signalling control centre an industrial and robust appearance. The new building also appears to have a double shell due to the fixed blinds on the outer façade. Because the blinds on the north side of the building are flat - and slope southwards on the other sides - sunlight can be kept out while still maximising daylight access. In addition, the ever changing contours help to create a dynamic effect when you pass the building on the train.


“The industrial appearance means the building matches its railway surroundings,” says Maurits Algra, architect and director at dJGA. “When you look from afar, the centre appears to be a natural part of the track; but when you are close, the building catches the eye of passing travellers.” The interior design is based on a contemporary approach, where materials and shapes have been specifically selected to refer to the railway company's history. For instance, the structure of the building is visible from the inside. “In the same way as a classic railway bridge,” states Algra.


dJGA has ensured a sustainable indoor climate by using triple-glazing, hybrid cooling machines and an energy-supplying roof featuring solar panels.


Separation of people and technology
ProRail has decided to build the new signalling control centre in order to separate people from technology; employees already work in the new building, while the systems have been housed elsewhere. These systems are also double-installed, so a back-up is always available.


Construction work was carried out by Visser & Smit Bouw under supervision from Arcadis. Plus, many other parties have also played a role in terms energy supply and ICT.

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    Rail operator ProRail will be opening its new signalling control centre today at the Cartesiusdriehoek in Utrecht. Pier Eringa, president-director at ProRail, will perform the official opening ceremony. The new signalling control centre is one of the most important centres in the railway network. De Jong Gortemaker Algra architects and engineers (dJGA) is responsible for the structural, interior, construction and landscape design. The building, which features almost 4,500 m², is a work...

    Project details
    • Year 2014
    • Work finished in 2014
    • Client ProRail
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Railway Stations / Control towers
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