Balfour Beatty Vinci Systra starts first permanent works on HS2 station

Construction work is starting on the HS2 Old Oak Common station site (Image: HS2/Absolute Photography)

The Balfour Beatty Vinci Systra joint venture is to start the first permanent works on an HS2 station when it begins construction on the Old Oak Common station in west London later today (23 June).

Work will commence with the construction of a 1.8km long underground diaphragm wall around what will become the station’s ‘underground box’, where six HS2 platforms will sit to accommodate trains serving the Midlands and the North. Pilling rigs will also install 160 reinforced concrete columns inside the wall to help form the box and support the structure.

Following the first phase of construction to create the 750,000cu m box, work on eight overground platforms will begin. More than 1,600 concrete piles will be installed into the ground on which the station superstructure and overground platforms will sit.

The station will also feature a lightweight roof that will be covered in solar panels and is designed to let in natural light. The station design development has been led by engineering professional services consultancy WSP with architectural support from WilkinsonEyre.

Artist’s impression of how Old Oak Common station will look when complete

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is due to visit the 10ha site today to meet the team working there today, on Women in Engineering Day 2021. HS2 claims it has exceeded industry benchmarks for the percentage of female employees that make up its workforce. In 2019/20, women represented 36% of HS2’s core staff, compared to an infrastructure sector average of 21%. It has a target of 40% in 2020/21.

Nigel Russell, project director Balfour Beatty Vinci Systra, said: “This incredible milestone is testament to the dedication of our team, who have worked tirelessly to make this moment happen. With many more years of work to do, we are proud to be delivering one of Britain’s largest, connected and sustainable railway stations whilst simultaneously stimulating the local economy.

“Through our work, we are providing numerous employment opportunities for local people, as well as offering 250 apprentices the opportunity to start their career on the UK’s most exciting engineering project.”

HS2 CEO Mark Thurston said: “The start of permanent works at Old Oak Common station, our first station under construction, is a significant step for Phase One of HS2, as we deliver world-leading engineering to create what will arguably be one of the best-connected railway super-hubs in the UK.

“Over 2,300 jobs will be supported to build the new station: part of the 22,000 jobs being created to build the new high-speed railway between London and the West Midlands and emphasising the key role HS2 is playing in Britain’s economic recovery after the pandemic.”

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