Old Oak Common T&RSMD

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Old Oak Common T&RSMD

Post by Steve Blick on Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:19 pm


Woodmans Mews
Scrubs Lane
White City
W12 0HU


260 Old Oak Common Lane
White City
NW10 6DX

Due to Paddington station being remodelled and reconstructed, plus the addition of other routes and the introduction of larger steam engines, the Great Western Railway needed a new depot to house such locos. With George Jackson Churchward being the chief designer and taking 4 years to construct, Old Oak Common officially opened on the 17th March 1906.

Boasting no less than 4 turntables, March 1964 saw all of the steam allocation being transferred to Southall shed. Due to this, Old Oak Common was partially redesigned and rebuilt to become solely a diesel depot. In the late 1970's and with the introduction of the Intercity 125, a purpose built High Speed Train depot was built, this being just a few hundred yards away from the main shed. 1997 saw another depot being erected, this to house the Heathrow Express units.

The 17th April 2009 was a sad day and due to a compulsory purchase order by Crossrail, the main diesel depot closed its doors for the last time. Some rolling stock and stored locos were still kept on site until 2011, but these were either moved on or scrapped on site when demolition of the buildings started. The last remaining turntable here, this was donated to the Swanage Railway. At the time of writing ( December 2016 ), a new depot is to be built on the existing land, this to house the Crossrail trains when the line is fully operational.

The HST and Heathrow depots are situated on the right hand side of the Paddington to Ealing Broadway / Reading line. Apart from the two FGW pilots, you can expect to see a varied range of visiting locos, as well as the class 165, 166, 180, 360 and 332 units.


By Car - From the southbound M40 and its continuation onto the A40, follow for approx 12 miles. Upon reaching the junction for the A219 and signposted for Harlesden and White City, take the exit and turn left onto Wood Lane - continues into Scrubs Lane. Then over the 1st set of lights and upon passing over the 2nd set, turn left into the car park ( yellow barrier ) this situated about 100 yards after the lights. If you've passed a Texaco garage on the right, you've gone a smidgen too far. From the car park, take to the footpath and walk past the garage, up the hill and over the mainline. Immediately then on the left, take the towpath and continue alongside the line and canal. As you proceed further and passing the Hitachi depot on your left, the HST shed can be seen from a bit of a distance. Binoculars or a strong zoom lens will be needed to identify any locos or units though.

To view the carriage sidings and the side of the HST shed on Old Oak Common Lane, return to the car park and turn right and then straight over the lights. At the 2nd set, turn right into Du Cane Road and follow this to its entirety. Then its right at the lights into Old Oak Common Lane and upon going under the two railway bridges and passing the Heathrow Express depot on your right, park up and you can view the sidings from the footpath. It'll be a partial view though, given the foliage and vegetation. Please watch out for the vigilant parking patrols, as this road is double yellow lined !

Rather than returning to the car, you can carry on along the towpath and you may be able to see across to the carriage sidings, but this all depends on whether any building work is going to restrict the view.

By Rail - Both Willesden High and Low Level stations are the closest for viewing Old Oak Common. By taking the footbridge, this situated near the entrance of Willesden TMD, follow it across the mainline and turn right at its end and under the railway. Then right again and turn first left, taking the path between the industrial units. To view the carriage sidings, turn right after crossing over the canal and then take the path left onto the main road. Then bear left and after passing the entrance to the former depot, the sidings can be seen a few hundreds on. However, you may be able to see parts of the yard from the canal bridge and could save you an unnecessary walk. Building work for the Crossrail depot may any hamper view from here though.

For the main depot, turn left after crossing the canal and the depot can be seen as you proceed along the towpath. If wanting to use both vantage points, it would be wise to give yourself well over an hour, as it'll involve a lengthy walk.

Alternatively, by using a Paddington to Acton service, this will take you past the depot and will give you a much better view than by using the canal towpath. You won't be able to see the carriage sidings by using this option though. For a 6 minute journey, a return service will cost approx £7.40. The London Zone Travelcard will suffice aswell, as Acton is situated in Zone 2.

Notes - With using the canal towpath and / or the footbridge, please keep your equipment and belongings close to hand, as the area has a bit of a reputation.

The towpath gives you excellent views of both the Hitachi and Old Oak Common depots, as well as the mainline. However, the wall is just under 6ft tall, but for the shorter enthusiasts, there are a few benches to stand on if required.

For using the car park, a ticket machine is situated in left hand corner, so fees may apply.

If looking at the map and wondering why the park hasn't been mentioned, the view is abysmal and nothing you won't get from the towpath. Also and if arriving in by car, it isn't advisable to use the Gateway Trading Estate on Hythe Road. Parking restrictions apply throughout the day and is patrolled on a regular basis...and you will be clamped !

Vantage Points - The best option if possible, is to use the train, but you won't see into the carriage sidings from this. You will see a lot more of the main sheds than by using the car or foot.

Both pilots can be anywhere on site, but one is usually in the vicinity of the HST shed.

Photos - View of from the canal towpath.
             Carriage sidings view from Old Oak Common Lane.

Maps - Road.
           Birds eye.
           Ordnance survey.

Current Allocation:

08483 - BR black
08836 - FGW dark green
D9524 - BR blue with yellow cabs  ( carries 14901 on its cabs )

Steve Blick

Posts : 181
Join date : 2017-08-03

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