Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Secretary, visited Old Oak Common HS2 hub last week to meet the team who are currently working there, to give them the thumbs up to start work on the biggest newly built railway station in the UK.
More than 2,300 jobs will be supported on the site at peak construction, with over 250 apprenticeships being created as part of it. There will also be a commitment to recruiting local candidates of all ages and backgrounds for the project.
The green light from Mr Shapps means that work will commence with the construction of a 1.8kn long underground diaphragm wall around the area which will become the station’s ‘underground box’ where six HS2 platforms will sit to accommodate trains serving the Midlands and the North.
Piling rigs will install 160 reinforced concrete columns within the wall to help form the box as well as supporting the structure.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The start of permanent works at the largest train station ever built in the UK in one go, Old Oak Common, marks yet more progress in delivering HS2, the high-speed, high-capacity and low carbon railway that will form the backbone of our national transport network.
“This ‘super-hub’ station shows our Plan for Jobs in action – kickstarting major regeneration, creating 2,300 jobs and 250 apprenticeships in construction – and underlines this Government’s determination to Build Back Better.”
Once it is complete, Old Oak Common station will offer unrivalled connectivity, with fourteen brand new platforms, six HS2 platforms offering high speed rail services connecting the North and the Midlands, four Crossrail – or Elizabeth Line – platforms and four conventional rail platforms, which will be served by trains to Wales and the South West.
Following the first phase of construction to create 750,000 m3 box, the work on eight underground platforms will be ready to begin. More than 1600 concrete piles will be installed into the ground on which the station superstructure and overground platforms will sit.
Nigel Russell, Project Director, Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA said: “This incredible milestone is testament to the dedication of our team, who have worked tirelessly to make this moment happen. With many more years of work to do, we are proud to be delivering one of Britain’s largest, connected and sustainable railway stations whilst simultaneously stimulating the local economy.
“Through our work, we are providing numerous employment opportunities for local people, as well as offering 250 apprentices the opportunity to start their career on the UK’s most exciting engineering project.”
Bringing the station together will be the station’s immense roof, covering the area of over three football pitches. The lightweight roof structure has been designed to minimize the use of materials and allow as much natural light in which reduces the carbon impact of the station. The environmental credentials of the station will be boosted by solar panels covering the roof, generating a supply of renewable energy for the station. The station design development has been led by engineering professional services consultancy WSP with architectural support from WilkinsonEyre.
The Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA joint venture is leading the construction work on the ten-hectare west London site. The station’s size and scale means it will boast some incredible stats and features including:
- 73,000 tonnes of steel
- 13,000 square metres of glass
- 2,720 square metres of solar panels on the roof
- 53 lifts and 44 escalators
- 550 cycle spaces
- 10,000 energy efficient LED light bulbs
With over 250,000 passengers using the station every day, Old Oak Common will become one of the country’s most vital transport hubs and a catalyst for economic regeneration for the area and the rest of the UK.
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