Complex 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 new high-speed rail network HS2.
After the last Heathrow Express train left its depot on a low loader lorry on 16 February, the site was formally handed over to Network Rail for the large decommissioning project to begin.
This latest preparatory work comes ahead of demolition of the Heathrow Express depot by HS2 Ltd. It comes after years of collaboration between Network Rail, South Rail Systems Alliance (SRSA) Alliance, Heathrow Express and the Department for Transport.
The Old Oak Common ‘super-hub’ 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 will act as a catalyst for local regeneration.
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. This is a crucial step as we begin the construction of the new station.”
Sophie Chapman, Heathrow Express business lead, said: “The Heathrow Express team have worked jointly with Network Rail and Siemens to ensure the smooth handover of the Heathrow Express depot. 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 phased removal of both the train depots, has allowed passenger services to continue running throughout the work.