A number of proposals are being considered to improve connections into Heathrow. Crossrail is under construction. Meanwhile, Western Rail Access, Southern Rail Access and the Windsor Link are all potential projects that are being developed.

Terms of Reference published for Heathrow Southern Rail Access Study

The Department for Transport has published guidance to Network Rail on the study it is carrying out for us on possible options for southern rail access to Heathrow Airport.

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The study was announced in the December refresh of the National Infrastructure Plan with a commitment to deliver findings during 2015.

The Department envisages a two stage approach to this study:
1. A market study – this will identify potential markets for southern rail access, as well as a set of conditional outputs. It will report to DfT in November 2014.
2. An engineering/ option short listing study – this will develop a short list of options capable of delivering the conditional outputs. It will report to DfT in June 2015.

All elements of the study will consider three potential scenarios in terms of the aviation capacity at Heathrow airport:

• A two runway airport, with limited potential for air passenger growth (ie the status quo)
• A three runway airport (ie one of the Airports Commission’s shortlisted options)
• A two runway airport, with an extension of the northern runway to the west (ie one of the Airports Commission’s shortlisted options)

Heathrow Western Rail Access plans unveiled

Network Rail has unveiled the preferred route option for rail access to Heathrow from the west.

The preferred route will leave the Great Western Main Line east of Langley and travel via tunnel to Heathrow.

Direct rail access to Heathrow from the west could deliver an increase in business productivity, quicker journeys to the country’s busiest airports and a boost to economic growth.

Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail route managing director Western route said: “Our plans for a new rail link to Heathrow from the west will dramatically improving rail links, reduce congestion on existing rail services and provide a boost to the local economy. It’s important that we take the opportunity to discuss these plans so we can ensure the investment made in a bigger, better railway delivers maximum benefit.”

Ruth Bagley, chief executive of Slough Borough Council and TVBLEP lead for WRAtH, said: “This is excellent news for Slough, the Thames Valley and the country as a whole. Better access to Heathrow has long been a priority for the business community, Local Enterprise Partnerships and air passengers, and this project will deliver significant benefits over a wide area.

“Studies show that improving access to Heathrow will stimulate growth, and could deliver over £2 billion in economic benefits, over 40,000 additional jobs, and significant environmental benefits. Faster and more reliable connections will safeguard the prosperity of the Thames Valley, by putting businesses in closer contact with their global markets.

“Giving passengers the opportunity to access Heathrow by train will support sustainable growth by reducing congestion on the road network and reducing the impacts of the airport on local communities.”

Network Rail plans to engage with other interested parties and local authorities on the proposals during 2014 and beyond.

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