In order to keep the growing rail traffic on the right track, Visser & Smit Bouw was commissioned by ProRail to construct the New Signalling Centre in Utrecht (NVLU), with the aim of making rail travel even more reliable. The previous signalling centre, built in the 70s, was in urgent need of replacement.
A conscious decision was made to build the new signalling centre outside the evacuation area of Utrecht Central Station, certainly after the fire at the old signalling centre in 2010. In the event of any emergencies or evacuations of the station area, the centre can now continue to function and rail traffic will suffer less inconvenience. The centre is situated in the Cartesiusdriehoek, an area with a rich rail history. The train manufacturer, Werkspoor was located in the area until the 1970s.
The new building has an area of 4,481m2 divided over 3 floors and forms the heart of the train operations in and around Utrecht. The signalling centre offers space for a 5-metre-high signal hall (control room) with an area of approximately 1,000m². This is a large open room from where employees have an all-round view of the tracks and its surroundings. A technical space for the ICT has been realised under the signal hall. This ensures optimum flexibility in use, even during maintenance and adjustments, work can continue as normal in the signal hall. In addition, a reception area, offices and meeting rooms have also been realised. The new building will accommodate 100 employees.
The indoor climate has been realised in a sustainable manner through numerous design choices. The signal hall is oriented in such a way that a lot of daylight enters the building. The facade is also specially designed to direct daylight into the building. By implementing this facade in steel, glass and the use of 'Corten steel fins', the signalling centre exudes an industrial and robust appearance. Visser & Smit Bouw was also responsible for the building-related installations and the coordination of the other installations of the energy supply and the ICT of ProRail. Triple glazing, hybrid cooling units and an energy roof contribute to a comfortable working environment.
On Wednesday 13th November 2013 Visser & Smit Bouw officially received the commission from ProRail to construct the New...