Clearance of rail depot begins for Old Oak Common 'super-hub'

Formal handover of Heathrow Express depot to Network Rail

Formal handover of Heathrow Express depot to Network Rail to make way for the Old Oak Common super-hub - Credit: Network Rail

Work is underway to decommission railway lines and train depots to make way for a billion-pound rail interchange at Old Oak Common.

Network Rail is removing overhead electric lines and disconnecting utilities before building and track demolition can begin to clear the site for the "super-hub" station as part of Britain’s controversial new high-speed rail network (HS2).

The site, which is currently a Heathrow Express depot, was formally handed over to Network Rail on February 16 after the last train there was taken away on a low loader lorry.

This latest preparatory work comes ahead of HS2 demolishing the Heathrow Express depot.

Heathrow Express train leaving depot for last time on low loader

Heathrow Express train leaves the Old Oak Common depot for last time on low loader - Credit: Network Rail

The clearance comes after years of collaboration between Network Rail, South Rail Systems Alliance (SRSA), Heathrow Express and the Department for Transport (DfT).

The Old Oak Common station will provide connections to London, Bristol and the west, and to Birmingham and the north via the HS2 line, the Elizabeth Line and existing rail services.

It is due for completion in 2030 and is a catalyst for the Old Oak Common and Park Royal regeneration.

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Patrick Cawley, director of on-network works for HS2 Ltd and Network Rail, said: “Our teams are busy making sure that everything is ready for the latest stage of this vital project. Network Rail’s work, in collaboration with Heathrow Express, SRSA and the DfT, is crucial to facilitate the redevelopment of Old Oak Common.

"The new high-speed rail station will be truly transformative, bringing significant passenger and community benefits.”

Rob Avery, senior project manager for HS2 Ltd, said: “HS2 is a game-changer for the UK’s rail network and the super-hub station at Old Oak Common will offer unrivalled connectivity east, west, north and south.

"Working collaboratively across all partners, we have reached the stage of decommissioning the second of two previously operational depots at Old Oak Common."

Sophie Chapman, Heathrow Express business lead, added: “By working collaboratively with industry partners including Great Western Railway, we have ensured the safe running of our passenger service has continued uninterrupted throughout the work and we look forward to seeing the construction of the HS2 and Network Rail Old Oak Common super hub.”

The HS2 project has been the subject of opposition by campaigners, and protesters recently built a tunnel under Euston Square Gardens in a bid to halt the project in that area. 

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