Transport for London has begun operations at a new, purpose-built train depot at Old Oak Common in a major delivery milestone for London’s new railway, the Elizabeth line (Crossrail).
The depot will house and maintain up to 42 of the line’s 70 new trains at a time. The maintenance infrastructure at Old Oak Common will play a critical role in the day-to-day operation of the Elizabeth line when it launches in 2019.
Old Oak Common depot has come into service as TfL prepares for the introduction of TfL Rail services in West London later this month. As a precursor to the Elizabeth line launch in December, TfL Rail will take over the Heathrow Connect service between Paddington and Heathrow Terminals 2/3 and 4 from Sunday 20 May.
Over thirty per cent of TfL’s new maintenance facility will be powered by a renewable energy system, adding sustainability credentials to the TfL network. The hybrid renewable energy system integrates ground source heating and cooling from a combination of energy piles and 150m deep bore holes, with three different types of thermal technologies creating a system which will help to control the temperature of the main depot building. Old Oak Common is the first rail depot in the UK to introduce such measures to this extent.
Howard Smith, Operations Director for TfL Rail and the Elizabeth line, said: “It’s great to see the progress that has been made at Old Oak Common since work began four years ago. Our new depot will not only allow us to introduce our new TfL Rail service from Paddington to Heathrow Airport this month, but it will also be home to the new Elizabeth line train fleet. Old Oak Common will be vital in helping us to maintain our 70 brand new trains over the years to come.”
From Sunday 20 May, new Elizabeth line trains stabled at Old Oak Common will initially run from Paddington to Hayes & Harlington, with the Heathrow Connect trains continuing to operate to the airport. For the first time, customers will be able to use pay as you go with Oyster and contactless on the whole route between Paddington and Heathrow with daily fare capping limiting the cost of travel to and from the airport.
MTR Crossrail will operate the Elizabeth line on TfL’s behalf.
Built by Taylor Woodrow, the civil engineering division of VINCI Construction, Old Oak Common depot has 33 stabling roads, and nine roads for the heavy maintenance of wheels, motors and other rail components. An on-site train wash facility will see that trains are deep-cleaned on a regular basis. Bombardier – who are building TfL’s 70-strong fleet of Elizabeth line trains – will operate the facility as part of a 32 year-long construction and maintenance contract.
Bombardier employs 80 staff at Old Oak Common, including eight apprentices, who are engaged in train testing and maintenance. This will increase to 110 by the summer, including an additional eight apprentices.