Colas breathes new life into old train depot for HS2

Colas, the freight operator best known for their infrastructure support roles, is preparing a site at Old Oak Common in the west of London as a major interchange for rail traffic. The former locomotive and train depot will see the high-speed rial project, HS2, connect with London’s urban rail network and other main line services, as well as provide a major transport hub and a huge urban and economic regeneration project. It is due to be delivered in November. 

Colas, the freight operator best known for their infrastructure support roles, has been working for two years, preparing a site at Old Oak Common in the west of London for the arrival of HS2. The rail freight industry has already been heavily supporting the high speed rail project, including the recently opened aggregates terminal in Buckinghamshire, and the logistics hub at Willesden, nearby the Old Oak Common site. Once open, the HS2 project should release capacity, particularly on the heavily-used mixed traffic West Coast Main Line, including paths for freight operations. 

Infrastructure work at Old Oak Common1 on behalf of HS2 has, ironically, involved decommissioning existing track and wiring (Colas Rail)

Cooperation

The former locomotive and train depot has been repurposed to serve as the interchange complex that will see the high-speed rail project, HS2, connect with London’s urban rail network and other main line services, as well as provide a major transport hub and a huge urban and economic regeneration project. Although freight will not directly use the hub, the capacity released will be of future benefit to the industry say HS2. Colas Rail say their experience as a principal contractor, and their team’s intimate knowledge of the Old Oak Common site has enabled the project team to react to key challenges throughout the life cycle of the project. Network Rail’s HS2 Senior Programme Manager, Chris Rolfe said the project is a shining example of what successful collaboration looks like.

“The SRSA have fostered an excellent working relationship with HS2 Ltd. This has successfully facilitated early land transfer between contractors, swift reactions to a changing environment and allowing scope to be delivered by those best placed to manage the risk.”

By November of this year 2021, the site in West London should be handed over to HS2 for the establishment of the Old Oak Common interchange (Colas Rail)

In addition to Colas and Network Rail, engineering multinational AECOM is a senior partner in the South Rail Systems Alliance. For their part, Colas Rail Group boast involvement in major projects around the world, including 14 high-speed lines extending to over 3300 route kilometres.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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