Railway stations can provide a hub for the local community. As well as vital transport connections, the economic boost they bring can help to generate jobs, new homes and act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of an entire area. One such example is West London’s Old Oak Common; one of the biggest and best connected stations ever to be built in one go in the UK. But, as the only place where the new High Speed 2 railway between London, the Midlands and the North will meet the Crossrail Elizabeth line and the Great Western Main Line, integrating this crucial transport interchange within the existing rail network is a complex challenge that will be pivotal in future proofing the railway for decades to come.
As part of the regeneration of Old Oak Common, two new interchange stations have been planned; at Old Oak Common Lane and Hythe Road. As an important transport interchange between mainline, commuter rail services, Elizabeth line and HS2, integrating these new stations within the constraints of the existing railway called for a design solution that would ensure minimal disruption for passengers and the local community. At the same time, it was also necessary to meet wider master-planning objectives, whereby the stations are required to fit into a complex surrounding physical environment that encompasses the crossover of three Network Rail territories. This meant there were a number of different stakeholders involved, all of whom were heavily invested in the future of the area, and with their own objectives and priorities to respond to.
Fortunately, our team were able to rise to the challenge, working with partners including infrastructure and urban realm designers, environmental specialists, cost analysts, architects and constructors, to develop a selection of feasible design options. These options were then presented at a series of technical and multi-stakeholder workshops, so that the final options for each station could be chosen and developed, ahead of being approved by Network Rail and submitted for ‘Approval in Principle’ at the planning stage.
The final design taken forward for the station at Old Oak Common Lane, which will be situated approximately 350m from the High Speed 2 and Elizabeth line station, features an elevated concourse that will minimise land-take associated with building the new station. It includes proposals for a 9 metre wide bridge across the railway, which will provide a public walkway and help open-up the wider area.
Hythe Road station will be situated on a viaduct and positioned on the West London Line, between North Acton and Willesden Junction. The station will incorporate three platforms, allowing through services between Stratford and Clapham Junction, along with an additional bay platform to accommodate terminating services from Clapham Junction. The design will remove the remove the severance caused by the existing rail embankment, replacing it with a new viaduct around which the station will be constructed, linking surrounding communities and creating further potential for local regeneration and placemaking.
With a proposed opening date of 2026, Old Oak Common will become one of the largest rail hubs in London. It will provide better access to public transport across west London and enable more journeys to be made without going into central London, thereby reducing pressure on many trains and stations across the capital.
The two new stations will generate significant benefits for the surrounding communities and Greater London, supporting a proposed development of 25,500 new homes, generating 65,000 jobs in the area and improving the quality of life for thousands of Londoners.