Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line Station; Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line Station;

Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line Station, London

How do you make a station site watertight?

The Elizabeth line directly connects Canary Wharf with Heathrow Airport, the City of London, and the West End. Arup undertook engineering design and specialist services for Canary Wharf station and Crossrail Place the above station development. Crossrail Place comprises four levels of retail and leisure space, crowned by a public garden with a part-open timber lattice roof. The ship like structure echoes the dock’s maritime history.

The fully submerged station is in the North Dock, so it can act as a link between the Canary Wharf Estate and Poplar to the north. This presented a challenge as the station had to be designed to sit 18m below the water level, accommodate the weight from Crossrail Place development above and be robust enough to withstand ship impact.

Project Summary


18m below water level

310mlong curved timber roof

135,000m3soil excavated

Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line Station Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line Station
Crossrail Place’s ship like design echoes the dock’s maritime heritage.

Removing the water

Prior to construction, the site had to be drained of water but planning approvals required that construction did not disturb residents. To minimise noise disruption, Japanese Giken piling was used for the first time over water in the UK. This uses hydraulic pressure (rather than impact) to drive the piles so produces no vibrations and very little noise. Its interlocking joints allowed for a single line of piles, rather than double, to be constructed to create a watertight perimeter wall. Over five weeks 98 million litres of water were drained so the station could be built inside the walls.

Our hydrogeologists were responsible for designing the groundwater control and monitoring. During construction, ground movement and water pressures were closely monitored and reviewed to ensure the safe emptying of the dock water, and so there were no risks to construction personnel, the site works or neighbouring buildings and infrastructure.

A flexible design

The building services for Crossrail Place and the station are entirely independent. As lead consultant, we developed a design solution that allows future changes for the four levels of shopping and restaurant units without any disruption to the operation of the station below. These units have been designed as highly-flexible, multi-functional spaces with each unit able to accommodate double-height spaces, mezzanine floors, lifts and stairs so they can be let a wide variety of tenants.

Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line Station Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line Station

The roof garden

Crossrail Place sits on the Meridian Line, and the plants in the rooftop garden are arranged depending on which hemisphere they come from. Many of the plants in the garden are native to countries visited by ships of the West India Dock Company who unloaded here in the 1800s.

Image © Nunzio Prenna