Following an eight week public consultation, it has been announced that Britain’s new High Speed 2 railway will now run in a new 9km long tunnel under Ealing and Northolt in a move that will shave 15 months off the build timetable and considerably reduce disruption in this part of west London. This new tunnel will link to an already-planned tunnelled section of the route making a 14km tunnel in total – the longest on the whole 225km first phase of the line between London and the West Midlands.
A spokesman for HS2 Ltd said: “A tunnel is the best solution for this part of the route. By running our trains through a tunnel here we will save time during construction and there will less disruption to residents, businesses and on local roads, particularly at Hanger Lane. Our station at Old Oak Common will be a major transport hub allowing passengers to switch between HS2 and the Crossrail connections to Heathrow and the Great Western Main Line.”
The change has been made after a detailed study by HS2 Ltd recommended the tunnel option to ministers. The study was undertaken after discussions with local stakeholders, London Borough of Ealing and the Mayor of London’s office.
It has also just been announced that the HS2 line will arrive at Birmingham using a new tunnel running under the M6 viaduct at Bromford.
The move, which followed a public consultation under the route’s Design Refinement programme, will save school playing fields, public open space and community facilities including Firs and Bromford Community Centre and comes after Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin made changes to the original plan that would have seen the line run at ground level.
A spokesman for HS2 Ltd said: “Birmingham will be at the very heart of High Speed 2 connecting our major cities and act as an engine for growth. The decision on the Bromford tunnel underlines the on-going work we are doing to design a railway fit for the 21st century and working with local people to minimise disruption.”
The original proposal, which followed the existing Derby and Birmingham railway line before running for about 1km under the M6 Bromford viaduct, required moving the River Tame south, building flood defences and relocating National Grid power lines and pylons.
After doing more detailed design work on the initial route it became clear that it would involve major remodelling of a busy junction between Bromford Lane and the A47 Heartlands Parkway and the re-alignment of part of Chester Road, both important north-south highways in east Birmingham.