Light rail and trams

16.08.18

Council pitches £375m light rail scheme linking south to Heathrow airport

Spelthorne Borough Council has submitted proposals for a light rail link from Staines-upon-Thames to Heathrow airport to provide “joined-up journeys” into the airport from the south.

The council is actively promoting the transport link which would be close to the existing railway station and offer “seamless and frequent connectivity,” running every six minutes and taking seven minutes to reach the airport.

The scheme has been submitted to the DfT and is expected to cost £375m, which will be funded by private backers.

Council leader Ian Harvey said: “I am very excited about this ground-breaking scheme, which creates seamless connectivity from the heart of our borough to the airport and enables our residents to access the airport more easily.

“The scheme would reduce congestion on the road and rail networks and has the added benefit of rejuvenating our main town centre in Staines-upon-Thames and giving a huge economic boost to the whole borough. For us it's a no brainer.”

Spelthorne Borough Council cited tried-and-tested light rail solutions across the world, including Docklands Light Railway and the planned scheme for Luton airport.

Traditional rail access would take up large amounts of space and cut through Staines Moor a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)—something the council labelled “unacceptable.”

Instead, the proposed route runs alongside the M25, using brownfield land to reach Heathrow Airport which announced expansion plans for a new runway back in June.

Some environment groups have expressed opposition to the expansion plans, due to be completed by 2026 and will see £2.6bn in compensation distributed to nearby residents.

Heathrow Southern Railway (HSRL) recently announced that three new trains an hour could be running to Dorset by 2026 as part of a £1bn Heathrow rail link proposal.

These proposals would see a new route, with trains from Woking heading directly to Heathrow Airport from the South Western Mainline.

 Image credit - sharrocks

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