LBHF: "BBC TV Centre plans approved"

Link to web site

"Plans to regenerate the world famous former BBC Television Centre in White City - preserving the Grade II listed central ring, the famous Studio 1 and other historic features at their heart - have been approved.

"Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s Planning Application Committee gave the green light last night (Dec 19) to Stanhope, the new owner of the five-hectare site on Wood Lane, to build more than 1,000 homes, a hotel and new shops.

"The plans - which bring £10 million in community improvements and could create around 2,745 jobs according to the developers - will enable the centre to remain at the heart of the community where it has stood for the past 53 years.

"The scheme involves replacing four television studios, the restaurant and drama blocks, the east tower and connected buildings with up to 1,025 homes, a hotel, cinema, health and leisure club, restaurants, cafes and offices."


Financial Times video: "Crossrail: Europe's biggest infrastructure project"

"Crossrail, London's £14.8bn rail programme, is approaching its halfway mark. Mark Odell reports on the magnitude of an undertaking that will connect the east and west of the city with a line that includes 21km of twin-bore tunnels dug beneath the capital. "


BBC video: "Old Oak Common move for QPR football stadium"

"Plans for regeneration of Old Oak Common in west London include proposals for a football stadium for Queens Park Rangers, and a transport hub for the high-speed rail link HS2.

"But some people are concerned about the impact on the local area.

"BBC London's Sara Orchard spoke to QPR manager Harry Redknapp, Andrew Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, and David Lindo from Save Our Scrubs campaign group."
[And mixes up Crossrail and Crossrail 2.]

BBC Newsnight: "Have ministers landed on Heathrow airport expansion?"

"A key Conservative election manifesto pledge opposing the expansion of Heathrow airport could be broken, BBC Newsnight understands.

"Ahead of Tuesday's interim report into options for expanding capacity in the south-east of England, the programme understands that three of the favoured options include the construction of at least one new runway at Heathrow.

"That could cause problems between Prime Minister David Cameron and some of his own MPs.

"David Grossman looks at the options in the running and Conservative MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston Zac Goldsmith explains why a 'U-turn' over Heathrow by the prime minister would be 'catastrophic' and 'an off-the-scale betrayal'."


Evening Standard: "QPR unveils plan for new 40,000 seat stadium at Old Oak in west London"

Link to web site

"QPR bosses aim to create an 'O2 of the west' rather than a traditional football stadium when the club moves to a new 40,000-seater home.

The 'Superhoops' today announced plans to relocate a mile north of their 18,000-capacity stadium in Loftus Road to Old Oak Common in time for the start of the 2018 season.

"Mayor Boris Johnson said he hoped the move would help spark a £14 billion development of hundreds of acres of industrial wasteland.

"But QPR chief executive Philip Beard, recruited in 2011 from the O2’s US owners AEG, said the stadium could only work financially if it could attract uses other than football."


"THE CLUB is delighted to today unveil plans for a new 40,000 seater stadium as part of a major regeneration project in the Old Oak area in West London.

"Queens Park Rangers Football Club and our partners, Stadium Capital Developments, have concluded a letter of collaboration with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham to ‘bring forward an early and very significant private sector investment into the Old Oak Common regeneration area.’

"The news follows Boris Johnson's recent announcement that turning Old Oak into a new world-class city quarter is to be one of his main regeneration priorities, and that a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) is to be set up to promote it.

"The plan is to develop a 40,000 capacity football stadium at the heart of the regeneration area, and for this to be the catalyst that will eventually bring about the creation of a residential and commercial area covering several hundreds of acres – larger than Canary Wharf – ultimately generating 50,000 jobs and 24,000 homes.

"The scheme has the provisional title of New Queens Park.

"R’s Chairman, Tony Fernandes, told www.qpr.co.uk:

“Loftus Road is – and always will be – a special place for the club and our supporters, but we need more than an 18,000 capacity.

With no option of expanding here, we have to look elsewhere and we welcome the Mayor’s and Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s commitment to regenerate the area, which includes an option  to develop a new stadium at Old Oak as a key catalyst to bring forward redevelopment, cementing our future in this part of West London.

Not only will this give us a top quality stadium to cater for QPR's needs as the club progresses and grows over the years ahead, but we are very excited about being the driving force behind creating one of the best new urban places in the world.

This will be the catalyst for the regeneration of a forgotten area – ultimately bringing new transport, 24,000 homes and at least 50,000 jobs.
It will create a vibrant new destination in London, boosting local businesses, attracting new visitors and tourism and creating a thriving community.”
"QPR CEO, Philip Beard, added:
“We look forward to working with the Mayor and local authorities and we will, of course, be consulting our loyal and passionate supporters, as well as the local community, on our exciting plans early next year. We will look to build a stadium QPR fans and local residents can be proud of.
Loftus Road is renowned for its atmosphere and with the help of our supporters, replicating that at our new stadium will be one of our top priorities.”
"Chair of the HS2 Growth Taskforce - which is meeting in London today (December 13) to ensure the capital maximises the benefits from HS2 - Lord Deighton, said:
“Regeneration only happens when the public and private sector work together. We welcome QPR and Stadium Capital Development's commitment to the regeneration plan at Old Oak. Delivering modern transport infrastructure such as HS2 and Crossrail can be a catalyst for regeneration in London. The Government looks forward to working with key stakeholders on this.”
"Antony Spencer, who – alongside Sir Terry Farrell – is developing the master-plan for Old Oak, commented:
“We envisage a new vibrant, mixed-use and high-quality entertainment and leisure development, which will turn this neglected but tremendously well-connected area into a new world-class city quarter. 
We are talking to a number of world-class architects to design iconic tall buildings akin to New York, the Far East and London’s finest, as well as improving and incorporating the waterside environment of the Grand Union Canal. We have assembled a top-class professional team to design tens of thousands of new homes, a 350-bedroom luxury hotel and millions of square feet of entertainment and leisure focused commercial space including: retail, studios and offices, bars and clubs, restaurants, cinemas and other leisure accommodation.”
"The announcement comes after many months of discussions with the Greater London Authority and the Boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent and Ealing.

"Spencer added: 

“We know we still have a long way to go in dealing with the planning, infrastructure funding challenges and business relocations but we are now in a position to forge ahead as we have secured strategic land holdings in excess of 100 acres.  We are confident of securing a planning permission by early 2015 and starting development shortly afterwards.

We need, however, to work very closely with the public and private sector bodies, such as TfL and Network Rail, to enable the necessary infrastructure requirements.  We look forward to working with the GLA, Hammersmith & Fulham and the local boroughs in a partnership approach between the public and private sectors.

The potential arrival of the MDC, with its planning and compulsory purchase powers, could dramatically speed up the delivery of this site.”


"Crossrail and HS2 superhub will bring £6bn boost to north-west London"

Link to Evening Standard

"Boris Johnson is to set up an Olympic-style regeneration agency to transform a rundown area into a thriving new district and deliver a £6 billion economic boost to London.

"The Mayor wants to use Crossrail links and the planned HS2 route — which will converge at Old Oak Common — to spur the creation of 80,000 homes and 20,000 jobs.

"By 2025 a 'mini-Manhattan' of skyscrapers and apartments will shoot up around the station in north-west London. The Mayoral Development Corporation in Old Oak Common, known as MDC, will have the same powers that are being used to create a Games legacy in Stratford. It will begin planning work next year at the semi-industrial 195-acre site north of Wormwood Scrubs and Westway. The establishment of an MDC is subject to London Assembly approval." [and the three boroughs involved?]

(Click for YouTube video!)

"Old Oak confirmed as HS2 hub"

Wednesday November 27, 2013

"A Government bill paving the way for a £50billion high speed rail line (HS2) to be built confirms Old Oak Common, just north of Wormwood Scrubs, as a principal hub station it was revealed this week.

"The high speed hub will connect the HS2 line to Crossrail and the Great Western Main line and provide opportunities for substantial regeneration of the nearby area, according to the council.

"Vast tracts of semi-derelict industrial land, in the north of Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F), could be transformed with up to 19,000 new homes and 90,000 jobs thanks to the major improvement in accessibility that HS2 will bring.

"Supporters of the rapid rail link between London and the north hope to see a new high-speed line running from the capital to Birmingham by 2026. Preliminary contracts worth £60million can now be handed out, although further legal hurdles remain before the actual railway can go ahead. Auditors KPMG say the line would boost the UK economy by £15billion a year.

"Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
“HS2 is the most ambitious and important infrastructure project in the UK since we built the M25 30 years ago, and in 30 more it will be just as integral a part of the nation’s prosperity.”
"A second phase, taking the line to north west and north east England, is due for completion by 2033. The cost of the project is now put at £42.6billion with a further £7.5billion for the trains.

"HS2 is set to make Old Oak Common Britain’s best connected railway station as it acts as the main interchange between HS2 and Crossrail. The Government has signalled Old Oak’s vital role in taking pressure off busy central London terminals like Euston, the London terminus of HS2, which could not have coped with the 13,000 extra passengers an hour that HS2 will bring. A new generation of trains, running at speeds of up to 225mph will stop at the new Old Oak hub station.

"Five of the nation’s airports will be linked to the high-speed rail network for the first time through the Old Oak interchange. Central London and Heathrow will be just 10 minutes away, Birmingham will be 40 minutes direct from Old Oak and Luton, Gatwick and City Airport will all be within 45 minutes. In addition, if the Government decide to move Heathrow to a new hub to the east of London, there will be a direct connection from Old Oak via the HS1 link in less than 30 minutes.

"Around half of working age adults within 1.2miles of the station are unemployed. Some parts of the area - which includes a large amount of railway land with train depots, two waste recycling facilities, the Car Giant dealership and other light industrial uses - are in the bottom 1% most deprived nationally.

"Given the regeneration potential HS2 provides, the Government, Mayor of London, TfL and London Boroughs of H&F, Brent and Ealing have developed a 30-year vision to transform the Old Oak area. The Vision spells out how up to 90,000 jobs and 19,000 new homes - in addition to new schools, open spaces, shops and leisure facilities - could transform the area. View the vision at www.london.gov.uk/oldoak

"Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council Leader, says:
"HS2 has the potential to act as a catalyst to create much-needed new homes, jobs and opportunities in one of London's poorest areas. We have heard a lot about how HS2 will bridge the north-south divide and regenerate parts of northern England and the Midlands, but it has also the potential to transform rundown inner London neighbourhoods right on our doorstep.

We will continue engaging with HS2 and the Government over the coming months, to ensure that the HS2 proposals deliver the optimal benefits for the borough’s residents.”
"There is potential to improve the local road network and provide bus and cycle lanes, linking existing and new stations to the wider area. There is also potential to improve local connections with new bus services to a new bus interchange at the proposed HS2 and Crossrail station, and discussions are on-going with the Government about ways in which the London Overground rail network could be connected to the Old Oak Common station.

"Mr McLoughlin continued:
“The number of passengers on our railways has doubled since 1995, while rail freight traffic has risen by 65 per cent over the same period. The existing rail network is operating at near full capacity, and neither new motorways nor domestic air travel are environmentally sustainable options to meet the mobility requirements of a British population expected to grow by 10 million by 2033.”
For more, visit www.lbhf.gov.uk/hs2

HS2 Hybrid Bill published: Acton homes hemmed in

Link to web site

"The Plans and Sections are part of and support the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill.

"The Plans show the centre lines and limits of deviation of the proposed works and define the land that will be acquired or used for the purposes of building and operating the railway. A description of the land, together with details of ownership, occupiers and those who have a legal interest in the land is included in the Book of Reference (information for which can be found on the web site)."


The Economist: "Not so boring: How other infrastructure projects can learn from London’s new railway"

Link to web site

"When it is finished in 2018, Crossrail will stretch across London, connecting the south-west suburbs in Berkshire with Essex in the east. The new line will increase the capacity of London’s transport network by 10%. Commuters will be able to zip from Abbey Wood in the south-east to the City of London in 17 minutes (the journey now takes 45). Stations are being extensively rebuilt. [Though not being made step-free.]

Paul Deighton, commercial secretary to the Treasury, who oversees public-sector investment in infrastructure, said:
"It's the perfect example of what infrastructure does for the British economy."
"... Several elements came together to make it possible. The creation of the office of mayor in 2000 made a huge difference, says David Leam of London First, a lobby group. As the mayor’s remit is limited mainly to transport, incumbents badly wanted the railway. And the business case for the project has strengthened."


BBC: "Crossrail unveils its first completed tunnel"

Link to video on web site

"The first completed tunnel in the £14.8bn Crossrail project has been unveiled.

"Tunnel machine Phyllis bored 4.25 miles (7km) between Royal Oak and Farringdon in London in an 18-month operation.

"Crossrail's seven giant tunnelling machines have completed more than nine miles of the 26 miles (42km) of new train tunnels."


BBC: "HS2: Cameron hails 'vital programme' as MPs approve funding"

Link to web site

"Prime Minister David Cameron has said the HS2 rail project is an "absolutely vital programme" as MPs approved funding to prepare for the project.

Some Conservative MPs voted against the the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill, but it easily cleared the Commons, moving the controversial rail line a step closer to becoming a reality.

The legislation releases funds to pay for surveys, buy property and compensate evicted residents. MPs backed it by 350 votes to just 34."


OLD OAK LANE: Stop Acton's copy of the Brent Cross waste incinerator!

A message from
Old Oak Incinerator Campaign

It is fighting a plan that is identical to this
Brent Cross waste incinerator plan below,
from the same off-shore tax-haven company...

(Click for link)
which is actually a second waste incinerator plan
for Brent Cross, the first being...

(Click for link)


The site visit is about 10.30am
so please assemble from 10am
this Saturday 2 November

PLEASE JOIN US at the site in Channel Gate Road, off Old Oak Lane, NW10

FROM 10am ONWARDS to be ready to (respectfully) greet the Ealing councillors

Please bring your Banners and Placards –

a BROLLY, and a huge amount of POSITIVE SPIRIT

(That means HOPE by the way, NOT GIN!!!)



Now it’s down to each and every person to contact all their friends and neighbours

We need at least 500 people there on Saturday

then they will see how much people DO CARE

Don’t let a bit of rain keep you away, we need everyone to be there!

Don’t forget we will never have this CHANCE again !

and on Twitter

Link to Brent & Kilburn Times


GetWestLondon: "Friends of Wormwood Scrubs say no to HS2 homes development"

Link to web site

"The Friends of Wormwood Scrubs have collected more than 3,000 signatures to stop a potential development of 19,000 homes, shops and leisure facilities planned for Old Oak Common, around a proposed HS2 and Crossrail hub.

"Early plans designed jointly by Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing, and Brent councils with Transport for London and the Mayor of London, include a raised railway viaduct cutting along the north-west corner of the 190-acre park.

"The Friends are also concerned about proposals to build several high-rise buildings along the northern edge of the Scrubs, which is home to 150 species of wildlife."


LB of Hammersmith & Fulham: "What a load of rubbish"

Link to web site

"There were shouts of ‘Urgh!’ and ‘That’s disgusting!’ this week in Lyric Square, along with stares from inquisitive residents doing their shopping and workers on their lunch breaks, as they passed a six-foot tall box filled to the top with rubbish.

"The clear, plastic box stood in the square on Tuesday and contained waste collected from the rubbish bins and off the street in a half a mile stretch between Hammersmith Broadway and Hammersmith Town Hall in King Street.

"Around 30 bags were put into the box over an eight hour period to show how much rubbish is thrown away every day and to demonstrate that the majority of it could actually be easily recycled – if the right items, like drinks’ cans, plastic bottles and newspapers, had been put in the correct bin."


The Rail Engineer: "HS2 Fights Back"

Link to web site

"The reason for building HS2 can sometimes be obscured in the fog of argument about whether people work on trains, benefit-cost ratios (BCR) and the like, writes Tim Smart, Head of Engineering and Operations, HS2 Ltd.

"There have been a number of negative comments in the media during the latter part of the summer concerning the likely out-turn costs of HS2. Some are from notable sources, but it is far from clear on what real basis these comments have been made.

"It seems to me they were made more on the narrow and short-sighted view that big infrastructure projects are not successful in meeting cost targets than a proper understanding of the proposals and strategies behind HS2. They also ignore recent successful projects such as the Heathrow Terminal 5, 2012 Olympics and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link – HS1."


BBC: "HS2: 12 arguments for and against"

Link to web site

"Labour has cast doubt on the future of HS2 but just what are the arguments for and against a new high-speed rail link between London and the north of England?

"Shadow chancellor Ed Balls still supports the government's scheme but warned there should be no blank cheque.

"So what are the main arguments?"


[Reposted Q&A from Jan 2012] Latest Old Oak Common information from TfL

The Old Oak Common sand pit: have fun!
(Image added July 2013: Wikipedia user: Cnbrb)

1. What time-scale would transport improvements happen there (at OOC), if the Government approves of HS2 in the new year?
It is too early at this stage to be definitive. TfL are pushing High Speed Two Limited (HS2 Ltd) to include plans for connecting the London Overground into the interchange at Old Oak Common in time for the initial phase, due to open in 2026.
2. What does TfL think of the light-rail proposals of LBH&F?
TfL are supportive of the principle of providing local connections from Old Oak Common to surrounding areas, such as Kensal, Park Royal and Willesden Junction. A light rail system may be the best way to provide these links, but more work is required to determine whether other options may be more suitable.
3. Is there any news of how HS2 would connect to HS1?
TfL do not support the current proposal to link HS2 to HS1 due to the likely adverse impacts on both London Overground and freight services on the North London Line. Network Rail are undertaking further work for HS2 Ltd exploring alternative options for linking the two high speed lines.
4. Is there any news about a Crossrail station in K&C as well as at Old Oak Common?
TfL do not support having Crossrail stations at both Kensal Gasworks (K&C) and Old Oak Common (H&F). The journey time disbenefits to through passengers would outweigh the benefits. Due to the connectivity benefits brought about by providing an HS2 / Crossrail interchange, TfL are fully supportive of a Crossrail station at Old Oak Common. As such, TfL do not support stopping Crossrail trains at Kensal Gasworks. In addition to this – given the close proximity of the two station locations, it is felt that links between Old Oak Common and Kensal Gasworks could be provided by other means.
5. Would WCML slow trains be diverted onto Crossrail? If so how would that be done; would the trains call at Old Oak Common? With extra platforms?
TfL have undertaken extensive analysis into diverting some of the WCML slow trains onto Crossrail. In particular, if those London Midland slow line services that currently run into Euston are instead run as Crossrail services, there may well be a large reduction in passenger arrivals at Euston, potentially freeing up space for HS2 passengers. This would require a new rail link between the WCML and GWML in the Old Oak Common vicinity, potentially utilising the Dudding Hill Line. Crossrail trains running up the WCML could call at Old Oak Common, either at new platforms, or they could utilise the platforms provided on the GWML as part of the HS2 proposals.
6. H&F have suggested completely new Overground platforms parallel to the Old Oak HS2 and Crossrail platforms on the south side of those lines.

a. Is this being considered?
H&F have safeguarded a section above the North Pole sidings, as part of the conditions for the IEP depot. This would potentially allow for London Overground platforms, although such a station would be 200-300m away from the HS2 / Crossrail interchange at Old Oak Common. TfL are exploring options that would allow for easier interchange between all three services (LO, HS2 and Crossrail) – see Figure 1, below.
b. If so, would NLL or WLL Overground trains use it?
Potentially both WLL and NLL services could serve this station.
c. If not are platforms on the NLL or WLL at Old Oak being considered?
See (a) above.
7. Would the Central line station at North Acton be moved nearer to Old Oak or NLL?
Under TfL’s preferred plans, North Acton station would remain where it is.
8. Would Southern services stop at OOC and if so how?
Southern services could make use of the connection from the WLL (see Figure 1 below) potentially allowing Clapham Junction to Milton Keynes services to run via Old Oak Common.
9. Regarding a possible “Hounslow to Hendon” Overground service, would this call at Old Oak (and how)? What stations are feasible in Brent?
As part of a new interchange at Old Oak Common, running London Overground services along the Dudding Hill Line, via Old Oak Common could be considered, although these services might have to reverse at Old Oak Common for this to be possible.
10. Is Overground being considered because light-rail on the Dudding Hill Line is too difficult to mix with freight?
Overground services on the Dudding Hill line are being considered because, given the other London Overground services in the area, extending the London Overground network is likely to be more cost-effective than providing a new light rail network. It is essential that the ability for freight trains to use the Dudding Hill line is retained. It may be possible to develop a scheme where light rail services can operate alongside freight trains, but operating London Overground services over the Dudding Hill line is likely to be a simpler way of providing improved connectivity between Brent Cross and Old Oak Common.

[Reposted] TfL Old Oak Common thoughts in Feb 2012


"The British first complain about big infrastructure projects, then come to revere them. HS2 will be no different"

Link to The Independent

"Is HS2 an expensive white elephant that should be put out of its misery?

"Well, no. The arguments in favour of HS2 are just as compelling as they were – even if they have been badly made and badly defended in recent months.

"Part of the problem is the focus on speed as the main selling point of the new railway. Yes, the new railway will go faster but that is not the real reason for building HS2. The real reason is capacity. The current West Coast main line is – in non-technical language – full. It cannot take any more trains. Not just fast trains – but commuter trains and freight trains as well."


'Save Our Scrubs' web site launched

Link to web site

"Save our Scrubs is a campaign that aims to ensure that all development around Wormwood Scrubs fully respects the present character of the Scrubs as a a common land for the enjoyment and recreation of all Londoners, a diverse habitat, a managed wilderness and a series of local nature reserves.

"The specific development pressures at the Old Oak interchange in the Northwest of the Scrubs - especially HS2, Crossrail and the London Overground - all have the potential to seriously disrupt Wormwood Scrubs."


The Guardian: "HS2: fears over rising cost dismissed by government"

Link to web site

"The government has dismissed reports that the cost of HS2, the high-speed rail project, will escalate to a politically unacceptable £73bn, saying the figures were 'completely misleading'.

"The figure is being discussed privately by Treasury insiders, according to the Financial Times. It comes days after the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), a free-market thinktank, warned the project could nearly double in cost to £80bn and should be scrapped.

"Officially the scheme, which will build a high-speed network linking London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds by 2033, will cost £42.6bn – already a rise of almost £10bn from the original figure when HS2 was approved in early 2012. Trains will cost another £7bn, and these figures are all at 2011 prices."


Brent & Kilburn Times: "Residents stage protest over [Old Oak Common Lane] incinerator plans"

Link to web site

"Residents opposing controversial plans for a giant incinerator in Harlesden turned out in force to meet [Ealing] council planning chiefs on Saturday.

"Up to 80 people gathered by Willesden Freight Terminal on Channel Gate Road where Clean Power Properties want to install the incinerator that has raised fears over increased traffic flow and air pollution.

" 'It went really well, there was a huge turnout from Brent and Ealing,' said Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala who represents Stonebridge Ward."

Wembley Matters web site:


The Rail Engineer: "Crossrail Thames Tunnels"

Link to web site

"Whilst the Crossrail TBMs are not as big as the largest yet, which was over 19 metres in diameter and drove a tunnel in St Petersburg, Russia, they are massive. Each is over 100 metres long and weighs about 1,000 tonnes.

"They are operated by 20 people, 12 on board the TBM and eight in the tunnel behind it. Typically a rate of 100 metres per week is being achieved on the Crossrail tunnels, with a total of eight machines being needed to create the 42km of rail tunnels on the whole project. TBMs Phyllis and Ada, working on the western tunnels, have peaked at speeds of around 215 metres per week."

"... Today’s TBMs are an amazing contrast with the techniques used by Brunel for the first Thames tunnel, not far away from the current site."


Park Royal / Harlesden Waste Incinerator: To be decided by Ealing Council Planning Committee on Wed. 14 August

Ealing planning application: PP/2012/3267

Park Royal / Harlesden Waste Incinerator

Department for Transport: The Cunning Plan

Transport for Growth summary


BBC: "Crossrail: Where is it in the list of 'big digs'?"

Link to web site

"The tunnelling for Crossrail, London's new east-west rail network, is now in its most intense phase - and the scale of the engineering challenge is as jaw-dropping as the cost is eye-watering.

"The tourists and shoppers in Red Lion Street in central London can have little idea that 30m under their feet something is going on, although people in buildings with deep foundations may feel a curious tingle.

"Two tunnel boring machines (TBMs), named Phyllis and Ada, are worming their way through the earth. Each one is the length of 14 London buses and weighs 1,000 tonnes.

"A computer display in Phyllis's control cabin shows the machine is 18mm below where she should be and 27mm too far to the left. But that's all within the design's tolerance of 50mm."


Thames Reach Airport: the latest web site

Link to web site

"The Thames Estuary at Hoo peninsular offers the space for a future international hub:
  • Sufficiently far away from built-up residential areas for 24h operation
  • Sufficiently close to large number of existing rail and road transport corridors
  • Level brown field and flood risk land
  • Surveyed by English Heritage."

Wider infrastructures

"The core proposals will be complemented by a number of related infrastructure initiatives, leveraging the core Thames Reach Airport proposals:
  • 'Eastern spine' – upgraded East coast mainline via LTX to Channel tunnel to form part of a national single homogeneous network with gauge and electrification for continuous through services – see Why AirRailHub
  • New rail services linking Essex and Kent
  • Stansted to Ebbsfleet (HS1) rail service.

  • Flood defence for London
  • Tidal power generation with pump storage
  • Dartford crossing relieve
  • Ancillary Housing development
  • Eco data centre – Powered and cooled by water
  • Utility way leaves via LTX – Water, Power, Data
  • Relocation of bird sanctuary."


Express&Star: "Staffordshire firm's new design puts HS2 bullet train on track"

"This exclusive image shows how 250mph high speed 'bullet trains' could look if Staffordshire engineering firm Alstom wins a slice of the controversial £8 billion HS2 contracts."

Link to web site

"The firm, which employs 2,000 workers in Stafford, plans to launch a bid to build 80 shuttle-style trains, which could spark a jobs surge.

"The company already supplies the high speed trains for the French TGV and Italian AGV services and could base a new manufacturing hub in the Midlands – creating up to 500 highly-skilled engineering jobs.

"Maintenance depots could see hundreds more posts created along the line in the region, bosses said today."


BBC: Expanding Stansted Airport,... Expanding Gatwick Airport

Link to web site

"Capacity at Stansted Airport could rise from 17.5 million to 160 million a year to help meet growing demand in the South East, its owners said.

The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) submitted potential options to the Airports Commission that include a £10bn "hub" with four runways.

"... The expansion plan has been submitted to the government-appointed Airports Commission, headed by former Financial Services Authority chairman Sir Howard Davies."

Link to web site

"Gatwick Airport has announced its preferred location for a second runway.

"The airport has revealed details of its final submission to the Davies Commission, which is looking at raising airport capacity.

"Chief executive Stewart Wingate said the airport wanted a second runway to be positioned south of the existing airport."


Evening Standard: " ‘Hitler’ jibe at Boris airport as Mayor wants to close Heathrow and create new borough"

Link to web site

"A leading architect today attacked Boris Johnson’s 'mad' plan to build a £65 billion airport on the Thames Estuary and compared it to a project that Adolf Hitler might have dreamed up.

"Sir Terry Farrell, who has designed some of the world’s largest airports and railway stations, said the scale of the proposed four-runway project would be unprecedented in Britain and made the Government’s HS2 high-speed rail project “look like chicken feed”.

"The Mayor today underlined his commitment to an estuary airport by naming Sir Norman Foster’s Isle of Grain plan as his first choice. Expansion at Stansted was his second choice with a “Boris island” in the outer estuary third."

Boris backs three airports

The Mayor’s proposal for a new hub airport at Stansted

  • The site would be on agricultural land to the northeast of the existing airport. The current terminal building and runway could be retained. This would mean existing operations could continue during the construction of a new hub

  • It would be compatible with Government objectives to deliver thousands of jobs and growth across London, Essex, and the Cambridge to Peterborough business corridor. Investment in infrastructure could also support much-needed housing growth

  • The number of people affected by noise could be less than five per cent of those who would be affected by an airport of a similar size at Heathrow

  • A new high-speed rail line could transport passengers from central London to the airport in less than half an hour, and the airport could be served by an extension to the proposed Crossrail 2 scheme. Enhancements to the M25 and M11 would be necessary

  • The hub could also be connected by the proposed route of the High Speed 2 (HS2) line allowing through-services from the Midlands and Northern England as well as to the Old Oak Common transport hub in west London

  • It could be quicker to get to than Heathrow for a number of key locations including important London centres and areas of growth and regeneration such as Canary Wharf and the Lea Valley, as well as other major cities across the UK.

The Mayor’s proposal for a new hub airport in the inner Thames Estuary

  • It would be located on agricultural land next to the Thames Estuary in the northeast corner of the Isle of Grain. Some of the site would be on reclaimed land

  • It would be compatible with Government objectives to deliver thousands of jobs and growth across London, Essex and Kent. Investment in infrastructure could also support much-needed housing growth

  • The number of people affected by noise could be less than five per cent of those who would be affected by an airport of a similar size at Heathrow

  • A new high-speed rail line could transport passengers from central London to the airport in less than half an hour and the airport could be served by an extension to Crossrail from Abbey Wood. A link to the high-speed rail line to northern Europe would also be possible

  • Enhancements to the M25 would be necessary, but the highway connections could be compatible with the Government’s current aspirations for a new lower Thames crossing

  • It could also be connected by the proposed HS2 route, allowing through-services from the Midlands and northern England as well as to the Old Oak Common transport hub in west London

  • It could be quicker to get to than Heathrow for a number of vital locations, including important London centres and areas of growth and regeneration such as Canary Wharf and Stratford, as well as other major cities across the country

  • There would be impacts on a number of habitats and designated areas, but there is a precedent for successful mitigation and provision of alternative habitats.

The Mayor’s proposal for a new hub airport in the outer Thames Estuary
  • It would be built on a man-made island in a shallow part of the Thames Estuary

  • It would be compatible with Government objectives to deliver thousands of jobs and growth across London, Essex and Kent. Investment in infrastructure could also support much-needed housing growth

  • Building an airport in this location would mean that no areas of population would be affected by excessive noise. This is the only option that would have a zero-noise footprint

  • A new high-speed rail line could transport passengers from central London to the airport in just over half an hour, and the airport could be served by an extension to the Crossrail line. A link to the highspeed rail line to northern Europe would also be possible

  • Enhancements to the M25 would be necessary, but the highway connections could be compatible with the Government’s current aspirations for a new lower Thames crossing

  • It could also be connected to the proposed HS2 route, allowing through-services from the Midlands and northern England as well as to the Old Oak Common transport hub in west London

  • Journey times from central London would be similar to those for Heathrow and quicker for a number of key locations in east London, including important growth and regeneration centres such as Canary Wharf and Stratford, as well as other major cities across the UK

  • It presents a significant biodiversity and habitats challenge, but there is a precedent for successful mitigation and provision of alternative habitats.
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