Thousands of new jobs and homes are to be created in Old Oak Common after the government revealed it will be the site of a new high speed rail interchange.
Transport secretary Philip Hammond announced today that underused sidings and industrial land in the far north of the borough will be used for a major hub connecting London to Birmingham and the north of England.
Mr Hammond visited a frost-covered platform at Willesden Junction station, overlooking the site of the proposed interchange, before setting out the preferred route for the planned High Speed 2 project in the House of Commons.
And he revealed for the first time that the government now hopes to include a Crossrail station at Old Oak Common, after initial plans left the area without access to the cross-London route.
A rapid connection from Old Oak Common to Heathrow Airport would also be created, with journeys taking 11 minutes.
The announcement is a victory for those on both sides of the political divide in Hammersmith and Fulham, who have argued that a new rail hub will transform the fortunes of an area with a high level of deprivation.
Around 5,000 jobs and 10,000 homes are expected to be created, although work on the interchange is unlikely to start until towards the end of the decade.
A lengthy consultation process will now have to take place before construction can begin, with opposition expected from those who live very close to the route.
Mr Hammond told the Chronicle that the arrival of the rail hub would make a 'fantastic difference' to the area, opening it up for commercial development and creating new homes and job opportunities.
He said: "If the project goes ahead, the interchange station will be built during the later years of this decade, and the line will start operation in 2026."
Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh said he and fellow councillors had lobbied for two years for the site to be chosen for the rail hub, which will transform an area in which half those of working age are unemployed.
He said: "This announcement is a down payment towards the longer term – this is not going to happen overnight."
But Mr Greenhalgh added that the regeneration of Old Oak Common is 'no longer pie in the sky – it's going to happen'.
High Speed will cut the journey time between London and Birmingham to just 49 minutes, with future phases slashing the time it takes to reach Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle.
Frank Wingate, chief executive of West London Business, said: "We are supportive of high-speed rail being linked in to west London, making use of Old Oak Common as an interchange and maximising connections into Heathrow for an integrated air and rail transport system, as this would benefit the west London and wider economy."