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.
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)