View from the top: prize-winners enjoy inside perspective on giant UK construction project 

View from the top: prize-winners enjoy inside perspective on giant UK construction project 

A visit to the huge HS2 development sites at Euston Station proved to be the prize for a team of Year 8 boys who recently won a prestigious design competition. 

When team Captain Snehal Das, Nafis Meah, Nayan Santheepan and Quaim Abdi won first prize in the I Can Engineering competition run by the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), they were told it would involve a behind-the-scenes tour of a civil engineering project.  

In the event, their visit was to one of the UK’s biggest current civil engineering sites. Euston Station will be the London terminus for HS2 and will double the seat capacity for trains leaving Euston during peak hours. The plans include a ‘seamless’ connection between the Northern, Victoria, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines at Euston. The project forms part of a regeneration scheme in central London spanning 60 acres. 

The boys were given a tour of the Mace, Dragodos and SCS Railways’ development site, where they were able to walk around and receive an insight into the scale of the project from a viewing deck. Presentations in the companies’ offices furnished useful information on both HS2 and details on what working in civil engineering can entail and possible routes into the sector. 

The boys also enjoyed the opportunity to chat to a range of engineering staff, who took time out to answer their questions about working on such a significant and vast project and their individual career paths. 

“The trip to HS2 was fascinating and gave me a very useful insight into the day-to-day life of a civil engineer,” said Snehal. “I also learned how they impact our lives everyday by improving transport networks throughout the UK.’  

Nafis added: “I found the trip extremely interesting, and I will consider being an engineer in the future.” 

The original competition required the boys to design a new London railway station linking the Isle of Dogs to the O2 Arena, with a strong renewable energy focus. Despite being among the youngest competitors, the QE beat 26 other entries from schools across the capital to take first prize.  

The boys impressed the ICE judges by including no less than four ways of reducing carbon emissions from their imagined West Ferry Station. Taking into account the new station’s location next to the River Thames, the boys included an underwater turbine to harvest hydro-electric power in their design. It also featured the use of kinetic power from customer footsteps, magnetic elevators, and bioluminescent bulbs. 

Kirsten Evans, Technology Assistant and the organiser of the I Can Engineering Club at the School, said the visit was a great way for the boys to understand the role of a civil engineer. “I hope it will inspire them to consider similar roles in the future,” she said.