HS2 Ltd, the developer and promoter of the UK’s new high-speed rail network, is planning to recommend a tunnel to be built under Ealing and Northolt for High Speed 2 (HS2), instead of the surface route previously planned.
The company said the proposed tunnel between North Acton (near Old Oak Common) and Northolt will speed up construction time by 15 months, as well as reduce costs and disruption to residents and traffic in north-west London.
Plans for tunnelling were firmed up after HS2 Ltd, a wholly-owned company of the Department for Transport, investigated a suggestion from local residents, Ealing Council and the Mayor of London, and subsequently conducted a study, which recommended the tunnel as the preferable option.
The recommendation of the company involve the construction of a 9km bored tunnel, which would be in continuous bored twin tunnels from Old Oak Common to West Ruislip.
HS2 Ltd community and stakeholder manager for London Peter Fry said that the recommendation demonstrates what can be achieved by working with local people and reflects the value given to their input.
"The study we commissioned found that for this specific section of the line, the cost of tunnel would be comparable with a route on the surface without the need to replace bridges and divert associated utilities," Fry said.
"The proposed tunnel will be included as the preferred option in the draft Environmental Statement for the first phase of HS2, so the community and stakeholders will have the opportunity to respond to this proposal as part of the consultation in coming months."
The proposed tunnel and proposed locations for vent shafts required between North Acton and Northolt will be consulted alongside the draft Environmental Statement.
HS2 is a new high-speed railway line under development, which will run from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
Image: Artist’s impression of a high-speed train HS2 link crossing the Birmingham and Fazeley canal viaduct. Photo: HS2 Ltd.