HS2 contractors to start work on Old Oak Common’s record-breaking station box

Posted on 17 May 2021

A joint venture between Balfour Beatty, Vinci and Systra (BBVS) is gearing up to start work on Old Oak Common’s main station box this month.

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 High Speed 2 (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.

Board papers released ahead of this week’s TfL Programme’s and Investment Committee meeting reveal that “enabling works are ramping up at Old Oak Common in readiness for piling and excavation works for the main station box, which are expected to start in May 2021”.

The papers add that work on the main station box is dependent on the “resolution of ground monitoring requirement issues, which have progressed substantially during [the last quarter]”.

A HS2 spokesperson confirmed that "the BBVS team are currently getting mobilised and prepared to begin the first permeant works at Old Oak Common station in the next few weeks".

When complete the station will have 14 platforms in total, with six 450m long high-speed rail platforms situated underground within the 850m long station box.

The station box will be accessed via twin tunnels, which will eventually take the high-speed trains east to the Southern terminus at Euston.

Construction of the station box will involve the excavation of 740,000m3of London clay. The box diaphragm walls will be 1.8km in length and the internal support to the HS2 station superstructure will be provided by 25m deep-bored piles.

When completed 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 is also central to OPDC regeneration plans for the area that will see thousands of new homes constructed in West London.

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 was seeking 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.

Network Rail has also carried out an extensive amount of decommissioning work at the site, removing old overhead electric lines and utilities.

The station design development was led by WSP and WilkinsonEyre, to develop conceptual designs.

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