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Archaeology at Old Oak Common

At Old Oak Common, we have excavated and recorded structures from the Great Western Railway (GWR) locomotive depot.

Built under the guidance of George Jackson Churchward, GWR’s Locomotive Superintendent, Old Oak Common was one of the most up-to-date locomotive repair facilities in the country when it opened in 1906.

Traditional and modern construction techniques and materials were combined to create a depot capable of accommodating and servicing the company’s latest and largest locomotives. A mighty engine shed containing four turntables was the centrepiece of an extensive site which also housed locomotive and carriage repair workshops, offices and stores.

The depot survived the demise of steam locomotives, and was only decommissioned in 2009 so that Crossrail could construct a tunnel segment factory. Crossrail’s new train depot will eventually be built on the site.

Prior to demolition, the buildings and surviving equipment were recorded. Many of the most significant historical items have been salvaged and we hope that they will find new homes in heritage railways across the country.

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