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TfL opens Elizabeth line’s new train depot

Patrick McDonnell
14 May 2018


A new, purpose-built train depot for London's new Elizabeth line has opened at Old Oak Common, in north-west London.

The depot will house and maintain up to 42 of the Elizabeth line's 70 new trains at a time. The maintenance infrastructure at Old Oak Common will be pivotal to the day-to-day operation of the Elizabeth line when it launches in December 2018.

The Old Oak Common depot has come into service as TfL prepares for the introduction of its rail services (TfL Rail) in west. TfL Rail will take over the Heathrow Connect service between Paddington and Heathrow Terminals 2/3 and 4 from 20 May.

Over 30% of TfL's new maintenance facility will be powered by a renewable energy system. The 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 the system, which will help to control the temperature of the main depot building. 

Howard Smith, operations director for TfL Rail and the Elizabeth line, said: “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.”

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.

MTR Crossrail will operate the Elizabeth line on TfL's behalf. The majority of their drivers are now based at Old Oak Common, where they are training with simulators that replicate a number of ‘real-life’ scenarios and weather conditions. The simulator training will allow drivers to gain a familiarity with the trains and the route before they go out on the network.

Built by Taylor Woodrow, the civil engineering division of VINCI Construction UK, 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, which is 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 that was signed in 2014. 

The Elizabeth line is sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT) and TfL. When complete, London's new railway will carry over 200 million passengers per year and will add 10% to central London's rail capacity, days DfT. 

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