• The Costain Group

    Thameslink – London Bridge Station

    London, England, United Kingdom

Project Summary


As part of the GBP 6.5 billion Thameslink project to provide new trains and improve connections and travel time throughout the United Kingdom, Network Rail contracted The Costain Group (Costain) to manage the redevelopment of London Bridge Station. The GBP 400 million contract required Costain to carry out detailed design and reconstruction of the station, including removal of the existing roof, complete demolition of all platforms, and the construction of a new street-level concourse with retail stores and station facilities, while ensuring the station remains fully operational. To meet these demands, Costain explored the use of photogrammetry to capture a reliable understanding of the site’s subsurface and produce an accurate 3D model.


To minimize passenger impact and keep the project on schedule, the redevelopment of the 180-year-old station is being completed in nine phases, with major sections of the new platforms and complex, curved canopy being prefabricated offsite. Given the age of the structures and limitations of laser scanning, Costain used Bentley’s ContextCapture software to accurately document existing site conditions, marking ground control points and capturing photos to produce a scalable, geo-referenced 3D reality model of the station.


Using Bentley ContextCapture saved Costain significant time, automatically producing a 3D reality mesh from smartphone photos in just a few hours, and eliminating the bottleneck associated with sharing a scanner among two dozen surveyors. The accuracy and production speed of Bentley’s reality modeling software provided Costain a reliable, cost-efficient solution to help ensure the station remained fully operational throughout the reconstruction, minimizing impact to passengers.


ContextCapture automatically processed images into accurate 3D mesh models documenting existing conditions of London Bridge Station and facilitating decision making for redevelopment. The software enabled the team to use photographs of the rail station’s 100-year-old brick façade to automatically generate, with precise accuracy, a model allowing designers to separate the bricks from the mortar joints. Using photogrammetry and ContextCapture provided Costain a reliable, non-contact survey technique that minimized modeling time and costs to meet project deliverables.

Project Playbook: ContextCapture

  • Costain explored photogrammetry using Bentley’s reality modeling software as a method for site surveys and data collection for the redevelopment of London Bridge Station.
  • Using ContextCapture allowed Costain to generate a 3D textured, geo-referenced reality mesh in just a few hours, saving time and costs on this GBP 400 million project.
  • ContextCapture provided Costain the ability to document visually rich, as-built 3D construction progress, facilitating collaboration and decision making on the UK’s most ambitious railway development project.
  • Upon completion in 2018, the reconstructed station will increase passenger capacity from 50 million to 75 million travelers.
  • “ContextCapture is providing Bentley users like Costain a software environment that is progressing the use of reality 3D capture on a construction site. With just a smartphone, the entire workforce has the potential to document visually rich 3D construction progress with a minimal amount of training. ContextCapture is changing data capture onsite.”

    Richard Bath Surveyor The Costain Group