LONDON, England – Responding to Network Rail’s consultation on Western Rail Link, which closes today, Heathrow has restated its support for the project and has called for Network Rail and the Government to accelerate the timeline for this project so its benefits can be delivered sooner. Western Rail Link will provide a vital service, directly connecting passengers and businesses from the west and south west to the UK’s only hub airport.
Western Rail Link has strong stakeholder support across a broad area of the UK thanks to the benefits it will deliver, including:
• Improved and faster access to Heathrow from the Thames Valley, South Coast, South West, South Wales and West Midlands.
• Opening up direct rail connectivity to areas without good public transport alternatives to Heathrow and helping grow rail demand. For example, this would be a new alternative route for two million passengers and the significant airport workforce who currently travel by road from the west and south western regions of the UK.
• Eased congestion on roads by taking up to one million cars off the road each year and lower CO2 emissions equivalent to 30 million passenger road miles a year.
• Up to £800 million of additional economic growth across the Thames Valley and surrounding areas.
Chris Joyce, Head of Surface Access at Heathrow said:
“Given the potential of Western Rail Access and the wave of support behind it, we urge Network Rail and the Government to work with stakeholders to deliver this vital link so that the economic and environmental benefits it can create are secured, and delivered as soon as possible.”
The proposed project will tunnel a link of 3.8km from a junction on the Great Western Main Line east of Langley, near Slough and will service four trains per hour between Reading and Heathrow. Over the next ten years this link, along with HS2 via Old Oak Common, Crossrail and Southern Rail could see Heathrow Airport add a further 3 million annual passenger journeys by public transport by 2020 and eventually treble its rail capacity by 2040.