Underground link for direct Heathrow access 6 Feb 2014
Network Rail News Release
- A future spur directly into Heathrow Airport from the Great Western mainline into London will be via a 5km-long tunnel, the UK rail operator Network Rail has revealed.
Fig 1. 5km tunnel for direct access into Heathrow from the west
- The proposals would see a new junction created between Langley and Iver stations, to link with a newly constructed tunnel for trains to access Heathrow Terminal 5 (Fig 1). If planning permission is granted Network Rail would begin initial highways enabling work at the end of 2016, with tunnel enabling work starting in early 2018. The project would be complete in 2021.
- Currently passengers travelling from the south west of England on one of the busiest rail corridors in the UK have to travel into London Paddington Station and then back out again using the Heathrow Express service. The future rail link, subject to planning permission, will allow passengers to travel from Reading, via Slough, to Heathrow Airport via a direct train service.
- Network Rail met with MPs and other local stakeholders to discuss the detailed plans - known as the Western Rail Access Programme - that would provide significant economic benefits for the growing number of businesses in the Thames Valley, M4 motorway corridor and south west England and south Wales. The government is now satisfied that a business case has been made for the £500 million project after more than 18 months of deliberations.
- Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail Managing Director Western Route said: "Our plans for a new rail link to Heathrow from the west will dramatically improving rail links, reduce congestion on existing rail services and provide a boost to the local economy. It is important that we take the opportunity to discuss these plans so we can ensure the investment made in a bigger, better railway delivers maximum benefit."
- Ruth Bagley, Chief Executive of Slough Borough Council, said: "This is excellent news for Slough, the Thames Valley and the country as a whole. Better access to Heathrow has long been a priority for the business community, Local Enterprise Partnerships and air passengers, and this project will deliver significant benefits over a wide area.
- "Studies show that improving access to Heathrow will stimulate growth, and could deliver over £2 billion in economic benefits, over 40,000 additional jobs, and significant environmental benefits. Faster and more reliable connections will safeguard the prosperity of the Thames Valley, by putting businesses in closer contact with their global markets.
- "Giving passengers the opportunity to access Heathrow by train will support sustainable growth by reducing congestion on the road network and reducing the impacts of the airport on local communities." Network Rail plans to engage with other interested parties and local authorities on the proposals during 2014 and beyond.
- The UK government is yet to reveal details of a planned direct link for Heathrow Airport with the proposed High Speed 2 scheme between London Euston and Birmingham, pending the outcome of consultations about air traffic capacity, but an announcement on this is expected soon and a spur from HS2 could form part of Phase 2 of that project.
UK High Speed 2 possible connection to Heathrow - TunnelTalk, January 2012
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