by phil marsh

Last of the Great Western Railway’s Old Oak Common ‘Factory’ sheds demolished

Published: 15th December 2014

Bombardier take over the former GWR and Crossrail Old Oak Common depot for its Crossrail fleet

To many Great Western Railway (GWR) enthusiasts, the 1905 built Old Oak Common Depot, located just a couple of miles west of Paddington, and represented a mechanical Mecca housing hundreds of locomotives until closure in 2009.

It was constructed under the instruction of George Jackson Churchward, the GWR’s Locomotive Superintendent when the GWR decided to relocate to Old Oak Common which was located between the main line to the west and the GWR main line to Birmingham, then known as the ‘Acton and Wycombe’.

Top designation

The new depot was designed to accommodate all GWR locomotives based in the GWR ‘London District’. Its importance was reflected to the end of steam as it was designated the code of 81A, the top GWR engine shed designation.

The relocation also allowed better access to and from Paddington, especially the Goods Station there and the locomotive servicing and repair facility at Westbourne Park could no longer cope with the growing traffic and size of locomotives.

The huge new depot was designed to repair and service the GWR’s ever growing steam fleet with huge engine sheds built housing four turntables, an array of workshops, stores and offices. Turntables were favoured because it made moving locomotives around the depot easier when compared with traditional ‘dead-end’ type sheds. Carriages were also maintained there, although Swindon Works remained the construction Works for the GWR. The depot was also known as ‘The Factory’ reflecting its activities.

The depot switched to house diesels from the end of steam in around 1965 and carried on as an operational depot until 2009 when the Crossrail project took over the site. The last few years it was used as a dumping ground for stored locomotives and carriages.

Crossrail’s cement segment works

Crossrail used the space to construct a cement tunnel segment factory which lasted for a few years and brought much building demolition. Now that the tunneling on the western section has been completed, Crossrail’s new Bombardier train depot will be constructed there. This is why all the GWR and diesel sheds have been demolished but all the buildings and surviving equipment were recorded for future reference.

Bombardier brings new era to Old Oak Common

The new 65 Crossrail trains are being built by Bombardier and will be over 200metres long and have been designed on tried and tested technology adapted to meet Crossrail’s requirements for a world-class, high performing and reliable train fleet.

Their interiors have been designed to speed up passenger flows onto and off the trains and will have level boarding in the central London stations, as with the London Underground. Wide interconnecting gangways between carriages will avoid a scramble in any one carriage for seats and seating layouts will accommodate passengers with restricted mobility. is proud to be able to share a pictorial snapshot of Old Oak Common’s 109 year history to date.

Liverpool street station in the UK at rush hour

Help and advice with train travel in the UK

Train travel in the UK should be a pleasure, not a headache. So if you’re taking a train on the UK railway, start your journey here. We’ve lots of hints, tips and advice to help you find your way around, travel smoothly and arrive in style by train.

Read more

eurostars passing at 375mph from the drivers seat in france


Welcome to our #railchat page. Our #railchat discussions take place over on Twitter, with our resident expert Phil Marsh. If you would like to get involved, please do join us, and use the dedicated hashtag #railchat. See our previous discussions below:

Read more

Old steam train in Shanty Town Museum

Locomotives & Engines

Our rail network would be nothing without them. From Stephenson's Rocket to British Rail Class 92 and beyond, explore the facts, information and anecdotes behind the steam, diesel and electric locomotives that built the age of the train.

Read more


Latest Tweets


Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh to London Kings Cross by Train

Book in advance with and save 85% advanced bookings.

From £21.00

Buy now

Millenium Dome, London

Birmingham New Street to London Euston by Train

Book in advance with and save 92% on advance bookings.

From £6

Buy now

You may also like...



Follow us on Twitter and become part of our rail community! is the easy way to buy cheap train tickets online.



Control your business fuel costs with a supermarket fuel card – free to apply, no ongoing account charges and no monthly minimum spend.