Old Oak Common "Likely" to Become High Speed Rail Interchange

Proposals could bring 10,000 homes and 5,000 new jobs to borough

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Old Oak Common is looking increasingly likely to become the London interchange station for the nationwide high speed rail network, if plans for the £32billion project go ahead.

And the proposal could offer a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to bring 10,000 new homes and 5,000 extra jobs to Hammersmith and Fulham.

iThe Government signalled this week that Old Oak Common is likely to become London’s interchange station, and launched a public consultation and a series of roadshows, including one at Westfield on April 1.

According to Hammersmith and Fulham Council, local residents and organisations including Imperial College, West London Business and the Park Royal Partnership and the council itself are all backing the plan. Nationally around half of Britons also favour the super-fast link with just 9% opposed, according to a poll published by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.

Mr Hammond said the country faced a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to create new jobs and prosperity, adding that the high-speed plan would deliver £44billion worth of benefits to the UK economy. However, the proposals need to successfully pass through the current round of consultation and it is possible they may change depending on the feedback received.

While it is close to a number of prosperous neighbourhoods, the area within 1.2 miles of Old Oak contains some of the most deprived communities in England. Only a half of 16-74 year olds living within 1.2 miles the Old Oak site are in employment and some parts of Old Oak fall within the 1% of most deprived areas nationally.

H&F Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, says: "High-speed rail is not just important for the future competitiveness of the UK economy but is vital for the future of this borough.

" Locally, a high-speed interchange station at Old Oak will create thousands of skilled jobs and new homes for local people and properly link Heathrow to the national rail network for the first time."

The Old Oak site intersects the Great Western mainline and the West and North London Lines and provides links to a future Crossrail station. The site creates an ideal interchange linking Heathrow Express services to Birmingham, the north and Gatwick Airport. Journey times from the Old Oak hub to Heathrow would be just 11 minutes.

If the plans go ahead, following the current consultation, high-speed trains will run between the capital and the north at speeds of up to 225mph. Each train can carry up to 1,100 people every five minutes – meaning 13,000 commuters an hour, in each direction, would be added to the already overcrowded tube at Euston if the Old Oak interchange doesn’t go ahead.

The Government’s consultation runs until July 29. To view the proposals and have your say go to High Speed Rail Consultation

March 3, 2011