Adrian Gogay doesn’t see his role as that of a station manager. For him, his role is about people management. He says being in charge of Liverpool Street station means he is responsible for every element of that station, including the people who pass through it.
And there are a lot of people who do just that without even catching a train. One way or another, 138 million people a year use Liverpool Street. As far as passenger numbers are concerned, it is the third most used station in Britain, following London Victoria and Waterloo. Add footfall to that, and it becomes the busiest.
This year, Liverpool Street has been undergoing a major rebuild and welcomed new operators to the Great Eastern Main Line terminus. And the work of Gogay and his team in managing these changes while continuing to accommodate such high numbers of passengers has earned the station a deserved accolade - this year’s National Rail Awards Major Station of the Year (RAIL 784).
Gogay is wary of taking the credit for the success, as he only moved from Victoria in May. When asked about the victory, he says, almost apologetically: “It’s a great result for the staff.”
He is responsible for 34 staff under his direct line management, while around 200 members of Abellio Greater Anglia staff also work at the station.
“We have done well. We push the ‘one team’ approach,” he says. “This has been done after bringing in the new Transport for London-backed TOCs and a new organisation of structure.”
He says that no matter which company someone works for, they all wear the same badge depicting Liverpool Street, to denote that they are all part of the same team.
“There is no one dominant TOC,” says Gogay. “Abellio has 57% of the services here and it runs the ticket office, but everyone is equal.”
Until May 2015, AGA operated all but a handful of trains into the station, with c2c running a small number in the evening. Now London Overground operates the West London inner suburban trains, while TfL Rail runs the Metro trains to Shenfield ahead of the Crossrail tunnels opening in 2019.
Gogay’s office is currently a mobile cabin near Platform 10, near where the taxis come and go. This is because the station is being partially rebuilt. There are much grander plans, but for the time being the facilities are being upgraded with the station opened up for business opportunities. And companies see the value in the station - that footfall is potential custom after all.
Gogay says the rebuild has been the biggest challenge at the station, yet there have been no complaints. Deliveries for the retail units continue, while work on Crossrail is also under way. That work has not had an adverse effect on the station, and nor has the Underground ticket office closure. The more things change, the more they stay the same!
The footfall at Liverpool Street is so high because it includes members of the public using the retail outlets and bus station. Additionally, people pass through en route to Bishopsgate and the West Mall. As a result, the station is now much busier than it used to be. Its location close to the city also helps keep the numbers high, as the local workforce descends on the station for food and shopping.
There are changes on the horizon not just for retail outlets, but for passengers as well.
Currently Liverpool Street has 18 platforms, although that will drop to 17 once Crossrail opens. However, this figure could eventually rise to 20.
Initially Platform 18 will close, because of the need to extend Platforms 16 and 17 to accommodate Crossrail’s new trains. The nine-car Class 345 Aventras that will serve the station are much longer than the current Metro trains, so the infrastructure must be accommodated accordingly. And there is little scope to do the work.
“It is a tight window - the work must be done ready for the tunnel to open, so it will be done in May to December 2019,” explains Gogay.
The tunnel he refers to is at Pudding Mill Lane, where Crossrail trains will leave the Great Eastern Main Line and head into the capital. Some Crossrail trains will continue to serve Liverpool Street, but until the platforms are lengthened, those trains will be shorter. That is why the Class 345s unveiled by Crossrail and Transport for London on November 20 (see pages 28-29) will initially be delivered as seven-car trains, before being extended to nine vehicles eventually.
In the longer term there is talk of a Platform 0, although this would be unlikely because of the aspirations to run 12-car trains on the West Anglia route. Other options to increase capacity are therefore being explored.
“The plan is to put two or three platforms in, potentially,” Gogay tells RAIL. These would be built where the new mezzanine facilities are being constructed, but would not be done for several years.
“It’s at the early stages. Conversations have been had, and are ongoing,” he says.
There is the option to rebuild the platforms by taking one or two out of use at a time, as per London Bridge. The roof support is currently between the tracks, and a solution is being investigated whereby moving that could create more space - platforms could be built where the track is, and track where the platforms are. Shifting these along towards Platform 1 would then create space for the three new platforms.