Monday, 20 December 2010
Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council is encouraging the Transport Secretary to name Old Oak Common, in north west London, as the nation's first high-speed rail-hub as part of the plans for a high speed rail line known as High Speed 2 (HS2).
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond visited Old Oak this morning to view the site - which mainly consists of light industrial land and railway sidings - for himself. Mr Hammond is expected to make a formal announcement on HS2 in the House of Commons this afternoon. He's pictured here on the right alongside our very own Cllr Loveday and Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh who seem to have done a really good job in lobbying for this site.
HS2 will cut train journey times between the UK's first and second cities to just 49 minutes and boost London's economy in the process. A new station at Old Oak Common would deliver more than 10,000 new homes and create 5,000 new jobs, according to the council.
Unemployment in the area is well above the national average and poor access to housing and other services are also a challenge for local people. Heathrow Airport would be properly linked to the rest of the transport network through the Old Oak hub for the first time.
H&F Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, says: "HS2 could provide the foundation for economic growth, helping to create thousands of skilled jobs in deprived neighbourhoods like Old Oak Common.
"Old Oak Common is perfectly placed to connect the rest of the country with Heathrow. The site has unrivalled transport connections and an interchange station here will allow passengers to disperse - taking pressure off the main London terminal at Euston."
The site intersects the Great Western mainline and the West and North London Lines and provides links to a future Crossrail station. The site also 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.
HS2 trains will run between the capital and the north at speeds of up to 225 mph. 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.
Former Transport Secretary Lord Brian Mawhinney has also backed the Old Oak hub as have prominent business leaders.
1630 UPDATE - The Transport Secretary has just confirmed that the Old Oak site will definately go ahead - so it's regenerative impact looks set to be harnessed for the local area - excellent news.
Posted by Chris Underwood at 14:41