The Madrid Nuevo Norte project will cover most of the rail yard at Chamartín train station south of the M-30 ring road, a technical challenge never before attempted in our country.
The project will create a large public park over the tracks, connecting both sides of the railway infrastructure. The large deck will connect the historically isolated neighbourhoods, and transform the existing gap void into an emblematic green space for the enjoyment of all Madrid residents.
An engineering work of unparalleled city scale will be required to cover the tracks; one of the world’s most extensive interventions to date. The area spreads across more than 200,000 square metres, equivalent to 28 Santiago Bernabéu Stadiums. Ten thousand linear metres of foundation piles of approximately 2-metre diameter, 1,200 pillars and 1,300 prefabricated girders will be needed to achieve this. One hundred forty thousand square metres of concrete slabs will span the girders.
The engineering challenge gains in importance owing to the size of the area to be covered, the complex geometry of the surface, the high loads it will support and, primarily, its location, in an urban environment above rail tracks that will continue operational. The large structural pieces will be fabricated on-site at temporary facilities for prefabrication and stockpiling of girders. This will prevent HGV traffic with large and heavy loads that could disrupt the city’s daily routine from passing through the area. The prefabricated structure, designed with BIM technology, will enable a fully industrialised and controlled fabrication and assembly process.
The construction process will also be constrained by the need not to disrupt the normal, daily operation of high-speed, commuter, medium and long-distance trains passing through Chamartín train station. To achieve this, some of the works will be carried out when the trains are not running, and the tracks can be occupied for construction work. To minimise the number of pillars used, the span between girders will be up to 40 metres, similar to that of large bridges.
The main deck over the tracks is divided into two areas, one in the north and the other in the south of Chamartín train station. The northern section of the deck runs towards the intersection of the tracks and the M-30 ring road, starting from the station. The larger of the two decks covers about 155,600 m2.
The southern deck will partially cover the 24,000-m2 site where the three railway tunnels to Atocha converge towards Mateo Inurria Street. Some 14,000 m2 will be covered here.
The project also includes partial roofing over smaller-city scale rail yards, including the one in the north that will extend towards Begoña Park, connecting Begoña neighbourhood with central Fuencarral. Similar actions will be carried out at Las Tablas Oeste and Chamartín Station.
Owing to its unique landscaping and location, the large park that will be created over the vast deck will be an icon of Madrid. The park with large trees will spread over 13 hectares. A 1-metre to 1.5-metre layer of topsoil will be spread across the deck to ensure the growth of vegetation. Madrid already has an excellent example of a park built over a transport infrastructure deck, Madrid Río, with vegetation covering the M-30 ring road.