|High Speed Rail Link Gets the Green Light|
Old Oak Common to be transformed by massive investment
The Government has today (10th January) announced its intention to proceed with the controversial £32 billion rapid rail link between London and Birmingham.
This will involve the creation of a major new interchange station at Old Oak Common just north of Wormwood Scrubs. The trains, which are capable of travelling at 250 mph, will terminate at Euston. The Old Oak stop, which will be known as 'Park Royal City International' is designed to reduce capacity constraints at Euston.
Around a third of all high speed (HS2) passengers are expected to transfer at Old Oak Common onto the station’s rail and road connections, including a new Crossrail and orbital rail interchange.
Five of the nation’s major airports will be linked to the high speed rail network for the first time through the Old Oak interchange. Heathrow will be 11 minutes away, Birmingham will be 38 minutes direct from Old Oak and Luton, Gatwick and City Airport will all be within 45 minutes.
Other rail connections – such as the Great Western and West Coast mainlines, Crossrail, West and North London Lines, Bakerloo and Central Underground lines, and Heathrow Express – all criss-cross the site and the A40 and North Circular Road also border the site.
Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council has welcomed the announcement. Cllr Mark Loveday, H&F Council Cabinet Member for Strategy, says: ''HS2 is the fastest way to deliver much need new homes, jobs and opportunities in one of London's poorest areas and the Government has recognised that the case for the Old Oak interchange is overwhelming."
He added, “The creation of a new interchange at Old Oak, or Park Royal City International as it will be known, will unleash the creation of a new business hub bigger than Canary Wharf, bringing thousands of affordable homes and jobs to London.”
Around half of working age adults within 1.2miles of Old Oak, including residents in the neighbouring boroughs of Brent, Ealing and K&C, are unemployed and some parts of Old Oak are in the bottom 1% of most deprived areas nationally
But in Ealing many are unhappy with the decision. Residents in Acton, Perivale, Greenford and Northolt have been campaigning to stop the 225mph rail development affecting homes in the borough and say the fight isn't over.
Ealing Council Cabinet member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Bassam Mahfouz said:
''It means that we in Ealing will face the brunt: getting all of the pain including a piercing wall of supersonic sound with none of the benefit of money being spent on tunnelling to reduce the noise.
''We will, however, be continuing to work with HS2 and the Government to ensure that the issues we raised as part of the consultation are dealt with as further details are worked through."
January 11, 2012