Civils and stations

28.03.08

Heathrow T5 opens with empty train platforms

Heathrow's new train station for Terminal 5 opened to the public with two unused platforms, showing that public transport needs higher priority at this major international gateway, says the South East England Regional Transport Board.

The platforms are reserved for Heathrow AirTrack, a new service providing direct connections from Reading, Woking, Guildford and London Waterloo to the airport. A recent study, commissioned by local authorities and the South East England Regional Assembly, has demonstrated that the wider economic benefits of the project are even higher than previously estimated. The extra trains are critical in helping to deliver growth in the South East and London.

Chairman of the Regional Transport Board, Cllr Nick Skellett, said: "It is scandalous that we have to wait five years before the first trains run. The need for Heathrow AirTrack was recognised during the Public Inquiry into Terminal 5 several years ago. Residents and business will benefit significantly from it. Government talks of airport expansion but it should focus on getting the infrastructure right the first time.

"BAA is pressing ahead in obtaining permission for AirTrack to be built and we will continue to support it. However, if the South East is to grow it must be supported by adequate infrastructure. Government needs to be fully committed to working with us to deliver the trains faster."

Heathrow AirTrack is expected to:
- Deliver trains every 30 minutes linking Heathrow with Reading, Woking, Guildford and London's South Bank taking between 35-45 minutes
- Provide improved public transport for 22% of passengers and 50% of airport staff
- Reduce 5,000 car journeys a day.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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