Waiting for the tram to arrive

Delta and Delft Integraal often write about innovative ideas that offer big promises for the future. But what has happened to such ideas a couple years on? What for instance has happened to the street furniture that Coert Smeenk designed for the Mekelpark back in 2007?

A group of students are gathered at the Mekelpark, waiting for Tram 19 to arrive. Some of them talk excitedly about their last class, sitting on sturdy wooden benches facing the tram track and enjoying the afternoon sun. Others are sitting on the other side of the bench, sunbathing or reading books. This is how industrial designer, Coert Smeenk, had envisioned students and employees using his street furniture at the Mekelpark on a lovely summer afternoon.
In 2007, Smeenk designed this street furniture for Tram 19’s tram stops at the Mekelpark. Back then it was said that the city of Delft would install his street furniture within a year. But two years later, there is still no street furniture at the Mekelpark. Instead there is lots of sand and rubble. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they will be installed in the near future, because of delays in constructing the track for Tram 19,” Smeenk says. The St. Sebastiaansbrug, which connects the campus to Delft city centre, is currently being renovated to accommodate the new tram track. When the renovation is complete, Tram 19 will go to the Mekelpark and Smeenk’s street furniture will be installed.
Two years ago, when Smeenk was searching for a subject for his graduation project, he heard about a special assignment to develop street furniture for the Mekelpark. “I was immediately enthusiastic, because everyone – students, employees and visitors – would use the benches. I wanted to design something that would make them all feel comfortable,” says Smeenk, who now designs wind turbines for Emergya Wind Technologies, a company based in Amersfoort.
After months of researching, drawing and calculating, Smeenk presented his results. His design features robust wooden benches on both sides of a glass window. “In that way, it’s more than just a tram stop,” Smeenk explains. “People who are waiting for the tram can sit on one side, facing the track, while others can sit on the other side of the glass on the same bench, reading a book, chatting or enjoying the sun. I particularly like the idea that the people on both sides of the benches sit very close to one another, separated only by the glass.”
Smeenk chose wood as the material for the benches: “Wood looks very classy. And I believe this will also reduce vandalism, because the street furniture looks so nice. At night, LED lights will illuminate the furniture, so everyone should feel safe.” Smeenk can’t wait for the moment when his street furniture is finally installed: “Hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer.”

De opdracht was een tijdelijke loopbrug te ontwerpen die perrons met elkaar verbindt. ProRail heeft die de komende jaren nodig bij de werkzaamheden aan tientallen stations.

Het ontwerp van de achtstejaars studenten Civiele Techniek en Geowetenschappen Joep Paulissen en Daan Tjepkema viel volgens de jury op door een goed begrip van de problematiek en een eenvoudig en vernuftig ontwerp.

De overbrugging kan in ongeveer vijf uur tijd gebouwd worden, zodat één buitendienststelling voldoende is. De naam ‘Rail by Rail’ geeft de manier van overbruggen aan.

Op de trappentorens op beide perrons worden hijskraantjes geplaatst die de brugelementen door de toren omhoog takelen en dan bijplaatsen. De kraan rolt -als een treintje- over de reling van de al gemonteerde brug tot het eind en plaatst daar het nieuwe element bij. De overbrugging vindt van twee kanten plaats tot de montage van het laatste sluitstuk ergens in het midden.

ProRail neemt de verdere ontwikkeling nu ter hand. Mogelijk zal de Rail by Rail volgend jaar voor het eerst toegepast worden bij de verbouwing van station Venlo.

Editor Redactie

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