Consultation confirms overwhelming support for new rail link to Heathrow from the West

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UK: Network Rail has announced that the proposals for a new rail link from the Great Western Main Line to Heathrow Airport have been given a boost with a large majority of people backing it during the statutory public consultation carried out earlier this year.

Views were sought from rail users, communities, businesses and other interested parties. 1,333 responses were received via post, email and on Network Rail’s official consultation website, building on the previous 1,000 responses received during two previous rounds of public engagement and consultation in 2015 and 2016.

A total of 72% of respondents agreed with the proposals to build the new rail link with 11% of total respondents asking for the industry to speed up delivery of the scheme. 23% disagreed with the proposals with a required road closure in the Iver area being cited as the most common reason for the negative response.

The link would allow passengers throughout the West, and beyond, to travel directly to Heathrow Airport from Reading, Twyford, Maidenhead and Slough, without having to change at London Paddington. This would make journey times to Heathrow as short as 26 minutes from Reading and just 7 minutes from Slough. It would therefore help ease congestion on the roads, and bring economic growth and new jobs into the Thames Valley and surrounding areas.

The plans have been drawn up on behalf of the Department for Transport.         

Mark Langman, 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.”

All of the detailed proposals for the scheme are available online at www.networkrail.co.uk/heathrow.

heathrow west access