Garda on the Thames

The challenge

To fabricate and install an illuminated handrail onto a new pontoon (river ferry stop) at Blackfriars Pier. Part of the Thames Tideway project; an initiative to reconnect the River Thames and London.

This is one of the most unique installations we have undertaken due to the fact that a large proportion of the installation took place in the Netherlands and was then floated down the Thames for completion.

Clients and partners

  • Client


Key project requirements

  • Meeting the right lighting levels to ensure a safe environment as people board and disembark from their ferries.
  • Delivery of the project on time, to precise specification and budget.

The solution

We were delighted to work on the initial phase of the Thames Tideway Project: a super sewer beneath the Thames (from Acton in the West to Beckton in the East). Removing 40 million tonnes of sewerage from the river each year. Much of our solution depended on close communication and strong working relationships with all key stakeholders: 

We worked with the architects for several years prior to the project going live, in order to review the electrical circuits and emergency requirements, ensuring that we could run long circuits for the specifications needed. All of the LED modules were cabled on alternative circuits and we had to through-wire the complete project which required focus (and stamina!) from everyone involved.

The contractor who won the main build of the pontoon was based in the Netherlands, so it made sense that our installation team worked over there on the steel work to fit Garda, whilst the pontoon and walkways were in the dry dock. 

We coordinated with fabricators, also based in the Netherlands, so that the Garda LED Handrail sections would fit on to pre-welded brackets on the balustrade. Working closely to ensure a perfect execution. The fabrication of the pontoon and canting brow steel work along with Garda was fully completed and then towed into place up the Thames river with minimal disruption.

This project worked to tight and very strict schedules in order to meet the shipping times of the pontoon to the UK. We delivered on time and ensured that there was minimal work needed when the steel work arrived at its final destination. The final stage of the project was to ensure the lighting was connected into our transformers providing emergency battery backup and the capability to dim the lighting if needed.

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