Construction of High Speed 2’s (HS2’s) record-breaking Old Oak Common station box begins today after transport secretary Grant Shapps gave the nod to start the first permanent works for an HS2 station.
When complete it will be the largest sub-surface station in the UK, with a box structure 850m long, 70m wide and 20m deep. It will also be the largest station ever built in the UK as a single project.
The West London hub will initially act as the London terminus for HS2) with Euston now due to open later than the rest of phase one of the high speed rail line connecting London to the Midlands.
Construction of the station is being carried out by a joint venture between Balfour Beatty, Vinci and Systra (BBVS). Work had previously been earmarked to get underway at the end of May, as revealed in TfL board meeting papers.
The transport secretary’s green light means that work will commence with the construction of a 1.8km long underground diaphragm wall around what 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 also install 160 reinforced concrete columns inside the wall to help form the box and support the structure.
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.”
Following the first phase of construction to create the 750,000m3 box, work on the eight overground platforms will begin. Over 1,600 concrete piles will be installed into the ground on which the station superstructure and overground platforms will sit.
The station design development has been led by WSP with architectural support from WilkinsonEyre.
HS2 chief execuutive Mark Thurston added: “The start of permanent works at Old Oak Common station, our first station under construction, is a significant step for phase one of HS2, as we deliver world-leading engineering to create what will arguably be one of the best-connected railway super-hubs in the UK.
“Over 2,300 jobs will be supported to build the new station; part of the 22,000 jobs being created to build the new high speed railway between London and the West Midlands, and emphasising the key role HS2 is playing in Britain’s economic recovery after the pandemic.”
When complete in 2030, the new “super-hub” station will link Elizabeth line (Crossrail), HS2, Heathrow Express and GWR services to the West and Midlands.
The station’s size and scale means it will boast some incredible stats and features including:
BBVS project director Nigel Russell added:“This incredible milestone is testament to the dedication of our team, which has 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.
“Though 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.”
BBVS was awarded the £1bn Old Oak Common station contract in September 2019. The decision was challenged in the High Court by losing bidder Bechtel who claimed that HS2 Ltd accepted an “abnormally low bid” when it awarded the contract to BBVS joint venture.
Consequently, Bechtel sought up to £100M in damages. However, after a lengthy legal battle a High Court judge ruled that “Bechtel’s claims in these proceedings all fail”, in particular stating that BBVS’s resources were not abnormally low.
In January, HS2’s enabling works contractor CSJV – Costain, Skanska – began the permanent construction of the Victoria Road crossover box, near to Old Oak Common, which will allow HS2 trains to switch tracks underground on their approach into the new superhub station.
Department of Civil Engineering https://www.ibu.edu.ba/department-of-civil-engineering/