Old Oak Common TMD
Old Oak Common (OC)
Old Oak Common Depot - geograph.org.uk - 1218776.jpg
Current operator
First Great Western
Heathrow Express
Locale Old Oak Common, London
Coordinates 51°31′30″N 0°14′48″W / 51.524873°N 0.24672°W / 51.524873; -0.24672 (Old Oak Common TMD)
Depot code
1950 - 1973 81A
1973 to date OC
1906 Opened by GWR
1965 Closed to steam
2009 Original depot closed

Old Oak Common TMD is situated to the west of London, in Old Oak Common. The Traction Maintenance Depot is the main facility for the storage and servicing of locomotives and multiple-units which utilise Paddington Station. The depot codes are 'OC' for the diesel depot, and 'OO' for the carriage shed.[1] In steam days the shed code was 81A.

The area is also the location where two GWR main lines bifurcate:[1] the 1838 route to Reading via Slough, and the 1906 New North Main Line via Greenford to Northolt Junction, the start of the Great Western and Great Central Joint Railway line. The former is in use for regular passenger services; the latter is used overwhelmingly by freight trains and ECS movements, though the 2007 timetable[2] shows a single weekday train from Gerrards Cross via West Ruislip to Paddington.


Railway Depot

GWR and steam

GWR 4700 Class 2-8-0 express freight loco 4706 being serviced at Old Oak Common on 15 December 1963
The first-of-class (Class 52) D1000 Western Enterprise, inside the roundhouse in 1964

The site at Old Oak Common is the ancestral home of the Great Western Railway's primary London locomotive depot. Following the reconstruction of Paddington Station and the introduction of larger locomotives and new routes, the GWR required a larger site at which to service its locomotives and carriages. A site was acquired in South Acton, south of the Grand Union Canal, which came into operation from 17 March 1906.[3][4]

Following a number of reconstructions and enlargements, the GWR built a north-light roofed four-turntable building, whose design became the template for other major GWR depots, including Tyseley.[5] The structure remained complete until diesel locomotives replaced steam and, as of 2007, only the rear-most part of the servicing depot still stands.


Steam locomotives near the coaling plant, September 1956
A variety of locomotives and wagons around the turntable in the EWS section of Old Oak Common TMD (2007)

Today the northern part of Old Oak Common is divided into two:

The remaining Great Western Railway buildings adjacent to the canal were part of EWS and latterly operated by their commercial subsidiary Axiom Rail. Since the introduction of the InterCity 125 trains in the 1970s, this site maintained freight locomotives and more recently carriages for charter trains. The site included the Lift Shop, the Pullman Car Shed (where the Blue Pullman trains were once maintained) and the former heavy repair building known as 'The Factory'. This site, together with the adjacent Coronation Carriage Siding was fenced off in 2009 due to compulsory purchase for the Crossrail project. All the remaining Great Western Railway buildings are to be demolished. The turntable has been donated to the Swanage Railway and is now in storage in Purbeck.

Adjacent to the Great Western Main Line is the second part of Old Oak Common TMD, the High Speed Train depot. Here trains which operate the First Great Western services, the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect are maintained.

South of the line is North Pole depot, where the Eurostar trains which operate on Channel Tunnel routes used to have their UK base. With the opening of the new international terminal at St Pancras railway station, all servicing was moved to the new Temple Mills depot located near Stratford International. The North Pole depot is approximately half a mile south-west of Willesden TMD.


A spare British Rail Class 180 Adelante cab at Old Oak Common

In recent years, the EWS site has had no regular allocation of locomotives but services visiting locomotives from other areas of the UK and is also a host to visiting preserved locomotives.

The First Great Western and Heathrow Express site is the home of the following stock:

  • Class 43 High Speed Train – used for First Great Western long-distance express services
  • Class 57 – locomotive used for First Great Western Night Riviera Sleeper services
  • Class 165 – two- or three-coach Turbo DMU used on commuter services to London (ex First Great Western Link)
  • Class 166 – three-coach Turbo DMU used on longer commuter services to London (ex First Great Western Link)
  • Class 360 – five-coach EMU used on Heathrow Connect services (joint operation with BAA)
  • Class 332 – four- and five-coach EMU used on Heathrow Express services.
  • Class 180 – 'Adelante' diesel multiple unit used for semi-fast services – to assist Hull Trains with maintenance.



  • Baker, S.K. (May 2001) [1977]. Rail Atlas Great Britain & Ireland (9th ed.). Hersham: Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 0 86093 553 1. 0105/H. 
  • Lyons, E.T. (1974) [1972]. An Historical Survey of Great Western Engine Sheds 1947. Headington: Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 0 902888 16 1. 
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