Full steam ahead for £500m western rail access to Heathrow project

Published: 12 Feb 2013 09:309 comments

IT is full steam ahead for the £500m western rail link to Heathrow after industry leaders met for a landmark round-table discussion.

Slough Borough Council representatives Joe Carter, head of transport, cllr Sohail Munawar, Rub Nawaz, transport strategy manager, Gareth Osborn, business unit director at SEGRO, Ruth Bagley, chief executive TVB LEP and WRaTH project lead, and Daniel Wilson, WRAtH project officer

Slough Borough Council representatives Joe Carter, head of transport, cllr Sohail Munawar, Rub Nawaz, transport strategy manager, Gareth Osborn, business unit director at SEGRO, Ruth Bagley, chief executive TVB LEP and WRaTH project lead, and Daniel Wilson, WRAtH project officer

IT is full steam ahead for the £500m western rail link to Heathrow after industry leaders met for a landmark round-table discussion.

The Government outlined its commitment to invest in the Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRaTH) project - which could cut journeys from Heathrow to Slough to six minutes - in July.

The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP), leading the project, has since established the Stakeholder Steering Group to drive forward development.

The group, made up of representatives from the TVB LEP, Heathrow Airport Limited, Network Rail, London Heathrow airlines consultative committee and First Great Western, met for the first time at the The Compass Centre, in Hounslow, near Heathrow Airport, on Friday last week.

Slough Borough Council chief executive Ruth Bagley, chair of the group and WRAtH project lead for TVB LEP, said: "I'm pleased to bring together key industry figures to work closely with Network Rail in support of the project through cooperation and expertise sharing.

"WRAtH has the potential to deliver benefits to many people, across a wide geographic area, and the role of the stakeholder group is to support this becoming a reality."

WRaTH will deliver direct rail services to Heathrow from Reading, via Maidenhead and Slough, with journey times reduced by up to 45 minutes.

The proposed rail link would directly serve Slough with four trains every hour - slashing travel times from 45 to six minutes.

The same amount of trains would stop at Reading, with two services calling at Maidenhead or Twyford every hour.

Steering group members agreed to start drawing up a conditional output statement - outlining passengers' expectations for the service - and explore possible funding models.

Ms Bagley added: "The group is helping to define a positive passenger experience, built on a foundation of reduced journey times to encourage passengers from road to rail.

"Our studies indicate that significant economic benefit arising from journey time savings and additional inward investment could be worth more than £2bn across the UK. Additional jobs, substantial reductions in road congestion and a reduction in CO2 emissions will also result."

The rail link, which would be a tunnel, could be operational by 2021.

What do you think of the project? Will it benefit your business? Let us know in the comment box below

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  • Hugh J
    Unregistered User
    Feb 12, 10:14
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    Bit of a moot point, due to the economic crisis and lack of jobs no b*gger can afford the train. Nice going Tories.

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 9

  • thegoodmrbrodie
    Unregistered User
    Feb 12, 13:07
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    i dunno. trains always seem pretty busy to me.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 2

  • Mrs Geeee
    Unregistered User
    Feb 12, 14:00
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    I'm a fan of trains but little sceptical, cutting journey times by 45mins? It only takes 45 mins by Rail Air coach from Redaing to Haethrow what journey are the comparing it to? also there is the London haethrow link already not sure how this is going to work? Also this group sounds Slough based not Thames Valley wheres the Reading representative? Mmmm...

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 6

  • Dave
    Unregistered User
    Feb 12, 18:36
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    I suspect they are comparing it with the current time it would take to you to get to Heathrow from Reading by train i.e via Paddington then out again to Heathrow! But does anybody seriously use this route? If not, then its somewhat misleading to make the comparison. As Mrs Green says, the current journey time is already less than 45 mins by railair coach...

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 3

  • sospel
    8 posts
    Feb 12, 20:37
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    Do not quite understand this. Will the trains stop after West Drayton and reverse?

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 4

  • Reading Railroad
    Unregistered User
    Feb 12, 22:50
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    Half a billion pounds to make a journey with time travel...

    They need to compare the estimated times from station departure to arrival at each terminal check-in versus Rail-Air.

    Will the cost and time both be competetive with Rail-Air? More important than time is the price...

    It must be cheaper than current Rail-Air prices and stay very cheap.

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 3

  • Wisernow
    42 posts
    Feb 13, 09:25
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    All this negativity. This is a major plus for people and should be welcomed.

    Recommend?   Yes 11     No 0

  • CJBrady
    Unregistered User
    Feb 20, 11:47
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    Interesting that Heathrow Ltd deigned to attend this meeting - but then there was a monetary interest involved. However when they were invited by John McDonnell (MP Hayes & Harlington) to discuss suicides on the GW Mainline - and it is usually HEX or HConn trains that are involved - they failed to attend. After a suicide any driver involved will never drive again. Many of the HEX and HConn drivers are women. And since Heathrow Ltd cannot even run HEX or HConn properly how on earth will they run the new service to/from Reading? Time and time again have I witnessed hapless passengers loaded with luggage booted out of the HConn at Hayes & Harlington and told to find their own ways to the Airport (usually by the 140 or 350 buses at extra cost).

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 1

  • mr_jrt
    Unregistered User
    Mar 8, 11:37
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    Would probably be better off tunnelling from T5 up under the A4 to Slough station with stations at Poyle/Colnbrooke (should the old rail line ever get reinstated) and Kedermister Park, then taking over the Windsor branch, remaining segregated all the way. A change at Slough isn't a lot to ask if done properly, and the service could conceivably be operated by the Piccadilly line trains, leaving Crossrail to run down to Staines. Looping back to the GWML ASAP as planned just means Iver and West Drayton get an even worse service than they currently do as more services will take a long detour via Heathrow.

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 0