Fares, rail policy and DfT news

17.07.19

Campaign for Windsor Link Railway to be revived

A campaign for a rail link between Windsor and Heathrow Airport is to be revived, after the scheme was turned down by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2017.

The Windsor Link Railway (WLR), laid out in several phases, proposes a rail link connecting Heathrow Airport to the south and west of the country, as well as easing congestion between the M3 and M4 corridors.

The campaign for the rail link was set up last year by George Bathurst, owner of a fingerprint security and webcam business in Windsor.

He submitted the plans as part of the government’s market-led proposals to improve Britain’s railways, but was rejected on the grounds that the scheme would require too much public funding.

In an interview with RTM, Mr Bathurst said that the WLR was key to cutting emissions around Heathrow Airport.

He said: “The section of the M25 between the M4 and M3 is one of the most congested in the world, which causes a lot of emissions.

“It’s a key obstacle to expanding Heathrow, so if we want to expand the airport, we need to address the emissions problem.

WLR map

He went on to discuss the difficulties faced last time the rail link was proposed to the DfT, and will submit proposals through the government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline instead.

He added: “Last time the scheme didn’t fit within the market-led proposals, which effectively rules out any significant railway.

“This time we’re not going through that process, we’re going through the rail network enhancement process.

“The logic of the scheme is very sound, because it’s linking between the Thames Valley and the M3 corridors, which is an area that used to be rural and has very few transport links.

“We still struggle being between two regions, politically, because the DfT have difficulty organising projects between two regions.

“But there is no rail alternative for this most congested part of the M25.”

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