Once synonymous with Kings, Castles, Halls and Manors and now home to the dedicated Heathrow services, Old Oak Common is now the pivotal interchange in many of London’s rail plans.

Our thanks and copyright acknowledgements to our chum Loose Grip 99 for this scene that looks destined to change.

Andrea Klettner writing in Building Design and Greg Burns writing in the Fulham Chronicle report that Terry Farrell and Partners, the architects behind the controversial new Earl’s Court estate plans spanning the District and West London Lines, have been appointed to create, a vision for regeneration, a new transport interchange at Old Oak Common in west London. Farrell and Partners have previously worked on HS2 proposals for Euston and Birmingham stations. They have also had prior involvement in the regeneration of the Quayside area of Newcastle and the design of the giant Beijing South and Guangzhou South stations in China and Embankment Place above Charing Cross station.

The practice will work with Hammersmith & Fulham Council on plans for the area, where the Crossrail and High Speed 2 (HS2) station link is planned, connecting the rail lines to the existing north and west London suburban routes and the Bakerloo and Central lines.

Terry Farrell, said:

This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to work on a project that will not only reshape west London, but have a huge impact on the country as a whole.High Speed Rail is not just a transportation strategy, it’s a nationwide economic catalyst that requires creative placemaking.At Farrells we have previously worked on proposals for Euston and Birmingham stations in relation to HS2 and are helping reshape Ashford and Folkestone thanks to the economic stimulus provided by the arrival of HS1.Old Oak Common presents an exceptional opportunity and we look forward to developing a clear vision to maximise the benefits of HS2.

The new transport links are expected to prompt the building of 10,000 new homes at Old Oak Common and create 20,000 new jobs in the area. Farrell’s plans will form part of the council’s submission to the Department for Transport consultation, which closes on July 29th 2011.

Stephen Greenhalgh, the Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council said:

The plans by Terry Farrells and Partners could see up to 10,000 new homes and 20,000 jobs created in one of London’s most deprived areas.Old Oak Common has the potential to be as significant for west London as the redevelopment of Stratford has been for the east of the city. Hammersmith and Fulham Council determined to demonstrate what the regeneration of the area can achieve and to present a vision for the future of Old Oak.

Unlike their neighbours up the Great Western and Great Central Joint Line,
Old Oak Common residents are backing HS2. Paul Keegan, chairman of Old Oak Tenants and Residents Association, said: “We are all for it. Anything that brings regeneration and jobs to this area will be welcomed. We are just crying out for new businesses and jobs.”

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There are 25 comments on this article
  1. Ben says:

    Its really gonna be awkward this. The station site is equidistant from a whole bunch of stations it could provide useful interchange with. The Bakerloo is at Willesden Junct. but thats about a stations' distance away, however the WLL and NLL pass close each side suggesting platforms could be an option. Meanwhile the central stratigicly avoids everything to the south, North Acton being the closest and right by the NLL too.

    So… new platforms on the NLL at North Acton (maybe place some for a future service over Dudding Hill) and another set for the WLL where it crosses the GWML? Who knows.

    Really looking forward to seeing what detailed proposals come up. I hope they don't make a hash of it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Like Ben said, don't assume the interchange will serve all of the North London, West London, Bakerloo and Central lines. They all run along (or beyond) the edges of the site, so positioning platforms within easy reach of each other will be challenging without major changes to alignments. Very handy if they manage it, though.

  3. mr_jrt says:

    The most important interchange for me has to be between HS2, Crossrail/GWML, the Central Line, and the NLL/LO.

    The Central Line platforms can be relocated for interchange, new LO platforms can be built, and it'll be close to the HS2 and GWML stations.

    I'd like a separate LO station on the WLL, and ideally there would be a separate (i.e. on tracks 5&6) metro service on the GWML that could have stations interchanging at both the NLL and WLL. Failing that, A moving walkway perhaps to the far end of the HS2 platforms?

    Willesden Junction is too far away for a direct interchange, and given it's poor service provision (i.e. no WCML services), the loss of direct interchange is no great loss. Even if platforms were restored so that all WCML services stopped (post HS2), then a proper intensive metro service on the NLL (12tph etc.) would probably suffice for getting passengers between the two.

  4. George Moore says:

    People won't be fond of having to walk long distances to change trains.

    LO platforms at North Acton would benefit many. The Central line platforms would have to be extended eastwards for easier interchange.

  5. Paul says:

    "old oak common" describes a large area and the interchange possibilities will depend on exactly which part(s) of the area the interchange will focus on. One would wonder if the Central line is such a priority interchange given Crossrail and the WLL to Shepherds Bush, but equally the Bakerloo given that Crossrail will serve Paddington and potentially even Wembley Central and beyond to Watford,

    It seems essential to me that the LO NLL and WLL are somehow included alongside HS2 and Crossrail (with the WCML suburbans included). The others would be a bonus.

  6. Paul says:

    Of course another option to get more lines interchanging at OOC would be to reconfigure some completely – for example –

    (1) As proposed once upon a time – Ealing Broadway (central line route) -> North Acton -> OOC -> Queens Park -> Euston

    (2) Richmond/Clapham or even Heathrow to OOC Queens Park and Euston, as above.

    Both (1) and (2) could leave the Bakerloo line intact with an interchange at Queens Park and Watford slows running to (for ex) Clapham via OOC.

  7. Mwmbwls says:

    Apologies – because of technical difficulties as a result of a malfunction in my Springer Spaniel's in built alarm system I failed to add the above link to the original article.

    It is another view of Old Oak Common by Loose Grip 99 showing the classic feature of Old Oak Common once commonplace throughout the rail system – the turntable. Is this destined to stay through the rebuilding works or has it already been earmarked by a preservation society – if not I am just off to measure my front garden – please don't tell Madame Mwmbwls – let it come as a surprise.

    Our thanks and copyright acknowledgements to Loose Grip 99

  8. lemmo says:

    Here's the link to the map from the HS2 site.

    Some interesting route suggestions above, but it's clear that the current proposal does not favour interchange with any lines other than Crossrail, HS2 and GWML. If they want to improve connections they have to make a choice whether to locate OOC east by the WLL or west by the NLL and Central. At the moment they've plumped for neither.

    Direct interchange with ECML at Willesden will never be an option: it is too far. So connectivity will have to be using services between OOC and the WCML, e.g. via the WLL or NLL.

    Extending the Bakerloo from Queens Park to OOC, North Acton and Ealing Broadway is a good option. This could provide a new station east of the WLL closer to the main regeneration area, for which Kensington & Chelsea council have proposed a Crossrail station at Kensal. I assume that OOC will replace this proposed Kensal station as a Crossrail turnback location?

    The map and the pic show that the Chiltern lines connection to the GWML is lost. This route should be maintained. Indeed, the question for me is what potential new routes will OOC prevent. It's important to safeguard future routes such as Chiltern line to GWML and WLL. There's a route begging to be developed from here through the WLL to the old CTRL terminus at Waterloo.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes it would be an opportunity to have a Heathrow to Euston (and/or St. P) service as we are currently lacking a direct express link between Heathrow and our major transport hub up there. It could be an alternative to NR's plan of running HEX through Crossrail. Or maybe a direct connection onto HS2 to the north?

    In regards to positioning it left or right, the length of both elements lends it to being able to reach both by having connections at both ends of the platforms (either in addition to or as well as the interchange building shown, but that alone does look like a huge wasted opportunity).

    If you're coming off Crossrail or HS2, you are in reach of Central, WLL and NLL. Its only the WLL people who won't be in reach of Central and NLL. Central would of course have to be rebuilt to the east so that it just hits the curve.

  10. Matt-Z says:

    What's happening with North Pole depot?

  11. stephenc says:

    I have my doubts that there will be *any* proposals for integrating other lines. The planners wil run numbers and say "well only 1% of arrivals at OOC want the central/NLL/Bakerloo line, so its not worth the cost to build a connection". What fails to get taken into account in these analyses is the true cost of not doing it, which is people taking taxis instead. (The situation in Birmingham is even worse, with both stations being designed for car access, not rail access).

    In general, I have little love for HS2 on this Ruislip alignment (an M1 alighnment is far preferable). I also have very little love for OOC. If the HS2 route has to go via Ruislip, then I'd make the first station at Paddington not OOC (underground, 4 platform), the second at South Bank (underground, 4 platform) with trains running on to a depot or terminus somewhere in South London (perhaps Deptford Park, Croydon or more usefully Gatwick). Bear in mind that tunnelling is already proposed to reach Euston, so this just repalces that in a different direction. Paddington is a far more sensible first stop for HS2 than OOC, with much better connections to Heathrow.

    Running through to the South bank (an underground station parallel to the Thames under Upper Ground, with walking links to Waterloo and Blackfrairs South, demolishing Kings Reach tower and the National Theatre) would give a huge boost to the business case, as far more people would be able to access the line, and there would be much better access to the City and West End.

    Its a pity that HS2 as currently planned has major flaws, because the Government is very committed to it. (BTW, I'm not part of the anti-HS2 movement and I don't live along the route)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Matt – North Pole will be one of the GWML IEP depots, it was buried deep in one of the recent announcements, but had already been earmarked in the GWML RUS a while back.

  13. Matt-Z says:

    Thanks anon. Will it lie empty until new trains arrive, or will it stable HSTs in the meantime?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I'd expect it to remain empty for some time, and at least until there's a direct rail connection added to/from the GWML. It is rather isolated at the moment, with the only rail connecton via the WLL in the direction of Shepherds Bush…

  15. Chris says:

    The problem with a station at Paddington, and one in the South Bank, is simple – to build a new station with enough through capacity and good enough interchanges as Euston isnt practical. With Euston's surface location and the numerous tube/mainline links it makes perfect sense. In an ideal world HS2 wouldnt disrupt anyone, could follow Motorways throughout and terminate under Oxford Circus – but its just not practical. Btw, OOC turntable is going to the Swanage.

  16. Jonn Elledge says:

    "demolishing Kings Reach tower and the National Theatre would give a huge boost to the business case"

    …that's a joke, right…?

  17. alexh2o says:

    How about a switch between Overground and Central lines just above White City – then Central trains travel up and cut through the OOC site, providing an interchange, and rejoining at North Acton. WLL trains go west and serve East Acton station before joining the NLL prior to Willesden Junction. A clever bit of realignment of the current NLL south of WJ station could also bring an Overground interchange at OOC.

  18. stephenc says:

    Can anyone point to an official document suggesting that *any* of the NLL/Bakerloo/Central are going to be integrated at OOC? Just look at the lack of integration at HS1 Stratford International, HS2 Birmingham International and HS2 Birmingham Curzon Street (a terminus!!!). In each case there is NO quality integration. Instead, there are naff "moving walkways" or "people movers" that destroy the whole experience of travelling by train, where simple connections really matter. (And the result of that lack of integration will be more people driving or taking taxis than using the local rail services)

    Thats why I would replace OOC by Paddington and Euston by South Bank. With 18 trains per hour, a 4 platform station gives 5 minute dwell times, which should be sufficient. Note that I'd also be happy to see Waterloo (overground) used instead of South Bank, but that would require more work on another Crossrail at the very least and prevent through running to places like Gatwick. South Bank is effectively Waterloo North (perhaps a better name!), and would share all of Waterloo's tube connections.

  19. timbeau says:

    Alexh20: not so sure about diverting the Cetra Line, but it still might be possible to reinstate the connection between the West London Line and the Central Line under the Westway flyover (part of the original Ealing & Shepherds Bush Railway, before the CLR was extended to meet it). The trackbed from there to Old Oak is wide enough for four tracks (look at the bridges over Du Cane Road, Erconwald Street and Old Oak Common Lane!)

    With decent connections bertween the three currently unconnected services in this area you could close the Central Line branch to Ealing Broadway (or divert GWML locals via North and West Acton to replace it), allowing improvement to the service to West Ruislip.

  20. lemmo says:

    The line alongside the Central at East Acton, North Acton and along to Ruislip is the old GW-GC Joint line. This is the other London end of the Chiltern mainline, into Paddington. It is little-used and sadly will be cut-off under this Old Oak Common proposal.

    This is very short-sighted: Paddington offers a good alternative for fast services to Birmingham and the Black Country plus stations in between. The route with its easy alignments, long passing loops at stations and flying junctions could offer a fast and frequent service.

    Yes, the extension to the West London Line alongside the Central through North Acton and East Acton could be reopened. This would allow fast services through to Waterloo and use the empty Eurotunnel platforms.

    Reaching the WLL would require a short stretch of tunnel east of East Acton after the Du Cane Road bridge, and ideally a grade-separated junction. It could also become a useful freight route.

  21. Anonymous says:

    What about just swapping the central line and bakerloo line round? So that the central line goes up the west of old oak common and then up to stonebridge park (via a route over industrial land parallel to that freight line to neasden), and the bakerloo comes down to ealing broadway / hanger lane etc. via a route parallel to the NLL

    It wouldn't be a difficult change, and would enable a huge interchange at the west of old oak common, with both NW london tube routes, routes through central london in both directions (N-S and E-W), paddington (Crossrail), and the huge interchange at kings cross/st. pancras.

    All that for just a minor swap is surely good value for money?

  22. mr_jrt says:

    …and you have the same problem as I have with my plans to divert the Bakerloo…where do you plan on stabling the trains? The main depot is at Stonebridge Park…which I suspect requires somewhat precariously on a new depot being built at Willesden for it to go to Ealing Broadway.

    Your plan has the advantage of giving the Bakerloo access to Ruislip Depot…but I doubt you'd fit the same amount of the Central Line fleet into Stonebridge Park though…

  23. Anonymous says:

    Interesting new publication from Greengauge 21 suggesting, following on from the recent RUS suggestion of WCML slows joining Crossrail in the OOC area, thus freeing up capacity in Euston, crossrail-HS2 interchange can be done at Stratford (and, by the by, people mover could get pax from Euston to St P for Thameslink) so no need for HS2/GWML/Crossrail interchange at OOC – merely a Crossrail station where the Reading/Heathrow and WCML Crossrail trains would split.

    Seems to make a lot of sense, especially if in future heathrow is to be served by a spur from HS2, potentially with Heathrow station forming a Charles-de-Gaulle-style hub…


  24. Anonymous says:

    The other extreme would be to have no Euston HS2 station at all, terminating HS2 at OOC, except for some to Stratford, and some to the Chunnel.

    Crossrail would serve central London, and radial routes (NNL, WLL and Dudden Hill Line) would distribute passengers around London.

  25. RG says:

    No HS2 at Euston? That would be pointless, not least as the infrastructure to connect HS2 to HS1 would get the trains all the way to Euston approaches anyway. I know Mawhinney floated this as a phase 1, but with WCML slow trains diverted directly onto crossrail the amount of work required to reach Euston, as well as work to upgrade Euston itself, is much less than previously thought.

    To my mind, through high speed stations at LHR (in HS2 phase 2, as part of a heathrow hub) and Stratford (in HS2 phase 1, to offer crossrail and all existing connections), would balance nicely and complement Euston, St P, etc as central london termini.

    (by the way I'm the anon who posted the greengauge doc link this morning)

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