Track and signalling

07.12.18

Consultation confirms public support for new rail link between Heathrow and the west

Plans for a new rail link between Heathrow and the west have been overwhelmingly supported in a new consultation published by Network Rail.

The proposals set out a new rail link between the Great Western Main Line and London Heathrow Airport, and will allow passengers to travel to the airport from Reading, Slough, Maidenhead, and Twyford.

The plans moved one step closer to official consent to build the link after the statutory public consultation found that 72% of respondents supported the proposals, which were draw up by the DfT, with 11% asking for the industry to speed up the delivery of the scheme.

Network Rail says the rail link would make journey times to Heathrow as short 26 minutes from Reading, helping to ease congestion on the roads and help bring economic growth into the Thames Valley area.

Over 1,300 people responded to Network Rail’s public consultation, building on previous rounds of public engagement regarding the plans in 2015 and 2016.

Mark Langman, the route managing director for Network Rail’s western route, explained: “We are delighted that the proposals have been given the overwhelming support of the public, businesses and stakeholders.

“We have also heard the concerns of some local residents so will continue to work hard to make sure our final plans, which will be submitted for consent in 2019, work with other developments in the area.”

Under the proposals, the new Western Rail Link would leave the Great Western Main Line onto a short stretch of open railway before entering a new 5km tunnel which would link up to Heathrow Terminal 5, meaning the majority of the new line would be underground.”

Network Rail will now publish a finalised plan taking into consideration the responses it’s received before submitting an application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate in mid-2019, which, if approved, will provide the consent to build the new railway.

Image credit - Warren Rohner

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