Partnership delivers at Paddington Cube

Every project has pivotal moments that make or break a project. Swinging in the balance, it is up to the stakeholders involved to deliver success. For Lonsdale Rail’s Paddington Cube LUL fit-out project, we join at that crucial point.

The HV (high voltage) transformer room is due for installation. Power starts with an 11kV switchboard that transforms it down to 400V, using auxiliary transformers and onto an LV (low voltage) network that runs through to the rest of the site. In laypersons’ terms, it’s the primary power supply for the project, so it’s paramount to get delivery & installation done right.

Paddington Cube project information

The Lonsdale Rail team are completing the LUL MEP fit-out at Paddington Cube, integrating London Underground’s existing Bakerloo Line tube station with a new entrance underneath the Paddington Cube building. The new tube entrance is part of a £65m investment in transport and the public realm on the Paddington Square development.

Visualisation of the London Underground Paddington entrance at Paddington Cube (Source:

The team are completing the design from RIBA stage 5 and fulfilling the manufacture, delivery, offload, distribution, installation, testing and commissioning for the mechanical, electrical, fire, public health and communications fit-out packages. London Underground, Mace and all stakeholders will benefit from a bespoke collaboration blueprint developed by Lonsdale Rail to ignite a more efficient way of working together. Lonsdale Rail will also provide dedicated in-house design, logistics and commissioning teams taking a proactive role in managing the entire M&E process.

Picture the scene

To deliver said transformer room, 56 lifts were due for completion. Initial delivery had all eyes on Christmas, but existing works around the access hatch were yet to have a confirmed completion date.

All behold the new year came; along with it so did news of the delivery window opening. At the end of the month, the team would be conducting all 56 lifts. Lonsdale Rail, Mace, ISS and Lonsdale Rail Delivery Partnership member Radius Group had heads down to produce, submit and approve all relevant paperwork – earning approval the first time.

A collaborative effort

Lifting & installing a transformer room within a rail environment is a specialist operation. This requires a safety critical license contractor with the necessary accreditations – ISS in this case – and a specialist plant handling specialist to sub-contract the lift. Radius was the chosen trusted sub-contractors. Radius is an active member of the Lonsdale Rail Delivery Partnership, producing a perfect opportunity to build on the growing relationship.

As a trusted company with The Michael Lonsdale Group, Radius Group are no stranger to us. Our in-house teams have collaborated with Radius for numerous projects throughout the years, successfully delivering bespoke lifts such as the exciting helicopter lift at Wells Fargo a few years back. The relationship extends to our Paddington project team, as the Electrical Project Manager Overseeing the event, John Monahan, has worked closely with Radius on previous specialist lifts.

Paddington Cube Technicalities

Plans set in place. Team ready to go. On 26th January, the delivery teams got rock n’ rolling. Activity over the next ten days revolved around the critical lift, the auxiliary transformer. Its size brought complications around the access point, making it quite a tight squeeze. Before lifting started, John Monahan and Lonsdale Rail CAD Manager, Keith Atkins, developed a 3D model to visualise the two hatches. By creating a footprint of the auxiliary transformer – including the cable box – the team made an accurate demonstration of the transformer voyaging through the hatches. The successful modelling proved the method feasible, enabling a relatively stress-free lift on judgement day.

The ATX lift model created by the Lonsdale Rail project team.
The ATX lift model created by the Lonsdale Rail project team.

Off the back of the successful model and multiple site surveys, Radius developed the ‘for execution’ lift drawing. The auxiliary transformer takes centre stage in the centre, where you can see the tight overlap between both hatches.

The angle for execution is also demonstrated for the LV switchboard, HV switchboard, cable drum and palletised loads. To ensure the measurements fully checked out, one of the first lifts confirmed entry clearance for the auxiliary transformer.

Radius' lift plan, demonstrating the proposed movement between the two hatches.
Radius' lift plan, demonstrating the proposed movement between the two hatches.

The access hatch diagram, developed by Mace, provides a bird’s eye view of the entry point. You can see the street-level access hatch (labelled high hatch) with the upper ticket hall access hatch (low hatch) across. The pink highlighted area is the physical overlap the delivery team had to play with when delivering equipment – 1.2m and 0.8m at each end. It’s a small opening, but every item reached its final destination the first time, thanks to the substantial work conducted before the lift by all parties involved.

Access hatch diagram, created by Mace.
Access hatch diagram, created by Mace.

Critical input from Lonsdale Rail

As we said, everything went in the first time. It was a colossal effort from everyone involved, but Lonsdale Rail played a crucial role in harmonising the effort. Effective collaboration with Radius – Lonsdale Rail Delivery Partnership member – and the specialist teams facilitated a communal understanding of how these deliveries can take place.

Understanding how the delivery can make a singular movement straight through the hatch was first coined by John Monahan and his project team. The original delivery plans outlined landing all equipment on the upper ticket hall, utilising a lifting beam secured across the ceiling to engage a second lift to bring equipment down to the lower floor. John and his team found this method to have flaws, as the beams don’t have the clearance to physically place any slings and lifting kit to safely complete the second stage. This led to one lift straight down being the winning alternative method, saving a huge amount of time by keeping each one of the 56 lifts from being split in two.

Successful delivery as a team

Radius Group had a huge part to play in the success of the series of deliveries. Everything required from Radius was done to an exemplary level, running extensive planning and feasibility work to help. This follows their ethos of engaging early, treating every job as its own to build a bespoke plan.

Steve Hickford, Senior Contracts Manager for Radius Group, shared the praise, giving homage to John. “John was fantastic…he worked tirelessly to make sure everybody worked together.” This is what the Lonsdale Rail Delivery Partnership prides itself on; maximising the strengths of each partner to build a partnership philosophy that exerts a healthy project mentality. With everyone sitting side by side, we create a sole focus on delivering a project as a sole team. In this instance, our thorough planning and flexibility enabled a successful 10-day lift, delivering 56 items the first time. Together, as the Lonsdale Rail Delivery Partnership, we are creating the right environment.

Want to learn more about our rail division and the delivery partnership?

Click the link to start a conversation with our Rail Director, Stacy Benson.