London Development News: Construction of HS2’s Old Oak Common Station

Following 3 years of discussion and site preparations, transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirm
General Blogs Section
August 24, 2021

Following 3 years of discussion and site preparations, transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that the start of construction work on HS2’s Old Oak Common station in west London has begun.

What is HS2?

HS2 is a new high-speed railway linking up London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland serving over 25 stations, including eight of Britain’s 10 largest cities and connecting around 30 million people.

HS2 has been designed so the railway can accommodate 18 trains per hour that travel at up to 360 km/h (224mph), faster than any other train service in Europe and only slower than those in China.

The HS2 project has been divided into three phases. Phase One has begun with Old Oak Common Station in West London and will include 3 other new stations. Namely Curzon Street Station in Birmingham, Interchange Station in Solihull, and Euston Station in London.

When complete, the Old Oak common Station will have 14 platforms in total, with six 450m long high-speed rail platforms situated underground within the 850m long station box. Of the 14 platforms, 6 will be underground for HS2 services, which will be able to carry passengers to London Euston in nine minutes and to Birmingham Curzon Street in 38 minutes. What brings the station together, and what makes it unique is the roof.

The immense size of the roof will cover over 3 football pitches and be covered by 2,720 solar panels. Renewable energy and environmentally friendly choices were central in the design of the station, which has a focus on utilising natural light (13,000 square metres of glass) and minimising the use of materials by using lightweight materials.

Initially, the estimated completion of Phase One was set to be the end of 2026 with Phase Two, including stations in Leeds and Manchester, scheduled for completion by 2032-33. In September 2019, Shapps advised in a written statement to parliament that Phase One could be delayed until 2028-2031 and that Phase Two had been pushed back to 2035-2040.

Despite the delayed end date, the start of HS2 construction has been met with both enthusiasm and outrage. Complaints concerning the construction process effecting protected wildlife and vegetation, construction traffic using rural roads and debris and mud on local roads have been received. During the first quarter of this year, HS2 Ltd has dealt with almost 15,600 enquiries and almost 550 complaints, of which just over 500 were related to construction.

Is there a need for the HS2?

The purpose of create the HS2 was to tackle three main issues, namely:

1.     Reduce overcrowding

The additional routes will allow for the freeing up of space on existing lines, allow for new local train services and ease congestion and over-crowding. Passengers can enjoy a convenient and comfortable mode of travel.

2.     Connectivity - HS2 will help level-up the country

With faster travel times and better connection, HS2 will help spread jobs and opportunity around the country, driving regeneration.

3.     Reduce carbon emissions

By creating space on existing railways, hundreds of lorries and transportation vehicles will be taken off the roads as freight can be transported by rail. This will improve air quality and help reduce carbon emissions.

Collaborating with the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) the Old Oak Common Station aims to contribute to a £15 billion economic boost over the next 30 years. It will help transform the former railway and industrial area into a new neighbourhood supporting tens of thousands of new jobs and homes.

The completion of Old Oak Common Station will be a significant step towards the HS2 becoming fully operational.

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