HS2’s Old Oak Common Station reaches a two year construction milestone

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Set to be HS2’s new railway super-hub station, the Old Oak Common site in West London reaches a key milestone as it marks two years of permanent construction.

In June 2021, the then Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, gave the thumbs up for permanent work to begin on HS2’s super hub station, Old Oak Common, in West London. Work on the site has gathered pace and significant progress has been made. A total workforce of 1,900 people are supporting the delivery of the HS2 ‘super-hub’ station, with the site itself welcoming around 1,000 workers each day.

After being given the signal to start permanent construction, HS2’s Station Construction Partner, Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA Joint Venture (BBVS JV) started work on the the installation of the 1.2 mile diaphragm wall for the underground box which will contain the six new high-speed platforms. The wall was completed back in March, with the team having installed 275 diaphragm wall panels and 161 bearing piles, the largest of these being 2.2m in diameter and 57m in length. The first base slab concrete pour in the western end of the station box has also taken place.

The excavation of the box is also well underway with over 465,000m3 of London clay already removed out of a total of 930,000m3 from across the site. The excavated clay from the site is now being taken away via part of a 1.7 mile conveyor network, removing thousands of lorry movements from local roads. The conveyor was officially switched on in November 2022 by the HS2 Minister, Huw Merriman MP.

Over 900 of the 1,600 concrete piles have been installed into the ground where the HS2 station superstructure and overground platforms for the conventional train network will be constructed.

Piling work began earlier this year on the second half of the super-hub – the eight platforms that will be served by Great Western Mainline and Heathrow Express services. It will also become the 42nd stop on the Elizabeth Line. Platform construction will start later this year.

The team also successfully completed the demolition of the Wycombe Line Bridge, over Old Oak Common Lane, at the end of May 2023. The disused rail bridge was removed following a weekend road closure, and makes way for the construction of the new Network Rail bridges which allow the Great Western Mainline track alignment to be widened as it approaches the new station.

The team are not just focused on what they are building but also how they are building. HS2 is committed to eliminating the use of diesel on all its construction sites by 2029 and significant progress has been made towards this at Old Oak Common. The site has set a goal to achieve diesel-free by the end of 2024, with a collaborative team working on plans. Amongst a number of measures being taken at the site is a transition to electric equipment including the use of two fully electric crawler cranes, two of only five used across the world. There is also an abundance of green technology being used, including hybrid excavators and diesel equipment retrofitted to use more sustainable fuels.

“Here at Old Oak Common, we are well underway in our work to construct London’s newest super-hub station. Our work is supporting nearly 2,000 jobs and we are already seeing that the new station is becoming a catalyst for regeneration in the Old Oak and Park Royal area,” says HS2’s Project Client, Huw Edwards.

“Upon completion, it will harness the close linkage with the newly opened Elizabeth Line, dramatically improving connectivity and creating a new destination to live and work in London,” says HS2’s Project Client, Huw Edwards.

“Together with HS2 and our supply chain partners, we have made great progress at Old Oak Common having most recently celebrated the first concrete base pour for the station box,” says Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA Project Director Nigel Russell.

“We now look forward to continuing this momentum as we work hard to complete HS2’s ‘super-hub’, which will become one of Britain’s largest, best connected and most sustainable railway stations,” says Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA Project Director Nigel Russell.

Later this year, the eastern end of the ten-hectare site will be handed over the HS2’s London Tunnels Contractor, Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS JV), for the breakthrough of the Tunnelling Boring Machine, named Lydia, which will have completed the construction of an 850m long logistics tunnel from the nearby Atlas Road site.

The SCS JV team will then receive two further TBMs delivered to Old Oak Common, in 2024, which will be assembled in the station box, ready to bore the 5 mile Euston Tunnel.

Once open, Old Oak Common station will become one of the country’s most vital transport hubs, with services East, West, North and South. Plans to transform the wider area around the station, a former railway and industrial site, are being led by the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) and it projects that tens of thousands of new jobs and homes will be created around the new HS2 station.

Source: © High Speed Two Ltd 2023

Image source: © High Speed Two Ltd 2023

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