HS2’s largest demolition job complete at Old Oak Common

A key construction site, equivalent to the size of six football pitches and close to the new Old Oak Common ‘super-hub’ station has been cleared to make way for a long tunnel crossover box.

Work on Phase One of the UK’s new high speed rail project continues to ramp up with the West London site set to be home for the Victoria Road Crossover Box - a huge underground structure designed to allow trains passing through the London tunnels to switch tracks.

Undertaken by a Costain Skanska joint venture (CSjv) and subcontractor McGee, the clearance involved the careful demolition of eight separate buildings, with more than 98% of materials sent for reuse and recycling.

More than 6,500 cubic meters of rubble from the clearance of the old warehouses and light industrial units was processed on site and will be reused during construction of the tunnels and crossover box.

The underground crossover box is being designed and will be built for HS2 by a Costain/Skanska/STRABAG joint venture (SCS Railways). The 130m long box will be 25m underground, with three headhouses at ground level to provide maintenance and emergency access as well as a separate ancillary shaft.

During construction, the caterpillar-shaped crossover box will also be used to launch two of the four tunnel boring machines digging the tunnels from Old Oak Common to Ruislip on the edge of London. Excavated material from the tunnels will be removed via the box and taken away by rail from the nearby Rail Logistics Hub.

Commenting on the clearance, HS2’s programme director, Matthew Botelle said: “The Victoria Road Crossover Box will be a vital part of the underground infrastructure that will make Old Oak Common one of the best connected stations anywhere in the UK. It’s great to see so much progress and I’d like to thank the team for all their hard work over the past six months.”

The team will now move on to clearing hardstanding, completing utilities diversions and collecting geological data that will feed into the detailed design of the crossover box.

Once complete, HS2 believe the Victoria Road box could also be used to provide sustainable waste heat energy to hundreds of new homes around the site, as part of the wider Old Oak and Park Royal development.

By using five air source heat pumps, it’s hoped engineers could draw warm air from the railway’s tunnels into a local District Heating System, instead of it being extracted by traditional ventilation systems that seeps into the ground surrounding the tunnels.

In the long term, the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation has plans for more than 25,500 new homes across a 650ha site, making it the largest regeneration project in the UK.

CSjv Programme Director, Peter Jones added: “I am proud of the Costain and Skanska joint venture team, which has worked together to achieve this significant milestone for HS2. Our work continues apace across London, with the Ibis hotel and NTH Insull wing near Euston now almost complete and the University College London building on Hampstead Road expected to be finished within weeks.”

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