Project Evergreen – Planning Consent secured for Northolt Junction
Our thanks and copyright acknowledgements to Richard Marks for this “Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness” view of Northolt Junction taken in 2009 looking south from South Ruislip station. The facing point to the left, with the 30/60 limit, is the up Marylebone which currently runs on the north side of the West London Refuse Transfer Station and via Northolt Park and South Harrow to Marylebone. The track going straight ahead forms the bi-directional “Up and Down Greenford” whilst translates into the “Up and Down Wycombe” a little further on. Just beyond the trailing point linking back into the Down Main to West Ruislip, is the facing point leading to the refuse transfer depot, just out of sight to the left. The Down Marylebone which has crossed under the Greenford line by way of a burrowing junction south of the Waste Transfer station completes the picture converging on the right. At the far right the two tracks of the Central line to and from West Ruislip run unseen beyond the cable ducts.
The London Borough of Hillingdon has granted planning permission to Chiltern Railways for a new railway chord at Northolt.
The works will create a faster, more attractive and reliable train service encouraging a further shift from road to rail. The planning consent will facilitate the construction of a new westbound line at Northolt Junction with increase to a maximum speed of 100mph, which will allow trains to avoid the severe restriction through the dive-under on the existing down line, and to enable fast trains to overtake slower ones.
The revised junction is a key feature of Chiltern Railways’ enhancements along the railway from London Marylebone – part of its “Evergreen 3” project. Evergreen 3 will enable significant improvements to both local and longer-distance train services, encouraging travel by rail rather than private car, and improving the sustainability of the transport network along the M40/A40 corridor – increasing line capacity and reducing journey times between London and the West Midlands. The new junction will allow most westbound trains to be routed over the new down line past the Civic Way trading estate, and only local trains stopping at South Ruislip and West Ruislip stations will continue to use the existing line past the Great Central Avenue and Rabournmead Drive. The new line will be constructed parallel and adjacent to the existing up (eastbound) line, and will be entirely on land that is already in railway ownership.
Construction work is expected to commence within the next few months and will be spread over eight months in total.
The intention is to deliver the project with minimal environmental impacts, with particular attention being paid to ecology and conservation, flood risk, air quality, noise, design and access, and highways and traffic.
The scheme will comprise: widening the existing Up Main line embankment for 1.2km; rebuilding a bridge over Civic Way and replacing it with a new double-track structure; stabilising the existing embankment using soil nails and gabion walls; laying the new track – parallel to and on the south side of the existing Up Main line, and installing junctions and signalling at either end of the new line.
Project Evergreen has had mixed experiences with stabilizing existing embankments with much more extensive restoration being found to be necessary on the Phase 2 re-doubling of the stretch from Bicester to Aynho Junction. Hopefully this new North London chord will prove more straight forward.
The scene will further change here dramatically if HS2 is built following the former Great Western Birmingham main line from Old Oak Common.