12 Proposed Air Rail Links in UK

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12 Proposed Air Rail Links in UK

UK: In this post we look at 12 air-rail project to directly connect UK airports with cities via rail and increase public transport share. These projects are taken from airports' Master Plans and various other official announcements. Project timelines are short and long term and they are in various stages of development. We invite our readers to contribute to this list, if you have additional information about these project or know new ones, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This list is part of the UK AirRail conference programme, taking place in London on 27 November, come and join us for the debate!


London Luton Airport
The Airport operator has aspirations to create a permanent fixed rail link between the main airport terminal building and Luton Airport Parkway station. Various options are being explored including PRT, Tram-Train and Heavy Rail. The Airport is also engaged with the DfT's franchise programme in an effort to secure four non-stop express services, operating between the Airport and the Capital from October 2017 onwards.

Belfast International Airport
Proposals to re-open Antrim to Knockmore/Lisburn line and possible feasibility study to establish a rail link to Belfast International Airport (BIA) if passenger numbers grow towards 10 million by 2030 as predicted by the airport operator. Proposed by Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy.

Thames Hub
£15 billion brand new 24hr airport with four runways and 26 min by train from St Pancras on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary. Proposed by The Foster + Partners.

Durham Tees Valley Airport
Airport's Master Plan proposes to facilitate relocation of the railway station as part of the wider investment in rail connectivity within the tees valley. Delivery of the Master Plan would be phased to 2020. Proposed by Durham Tess Valley Airport.

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Heathrow Airport
The future rail link, subject to planning permission, will give passengers a direct rail service from Reading via Slough, to Heathrow airport. The proposals would see a new junction created between Langley and Iver stations, linking with a 5km tunnel for trains to access Heathrow Terminal 5. Proposed by Network Rail.

Gatwick and Heathrow Airports
Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South proposes direct rail links to Heathrow and Gatwick as part of the East West Rail Project (EWR) and Gatwick Airport's second runway in 2021 plans. Proposed by Iain Stewart MP.

Birmingham Airport
Proposal to restore the Whitacre Link' – the former Stonebridge Railway, between Hampton-in-Arden and Whitacre Junction, and re-connect it to the existing and expanding national railway network at the HS2 Interchange station. Proposed by by Alan Marshall, Editorial Director of Railnews Limited, and Michael Byng, Quantity Surveyor, of mbpc Infrastructure Limited.

Leeds Bradford International Airport
In 2005-2016 Master Plan the airport proposed a new fixed rail link. The rail link could provide additional light or heavy rail capacity linking the Wharfdale and Airedale lines and offering an alternative route between Leeds and Bradford and enabling trains, for example, to link Bradford to Harrogate and York via Guiseley and the Airport. Proposed by Leeds Bradford International Airport.

Aberdeen Airport
In their 2013 Master Plan, Aberdeen International Airport Limited has committed to provide land, currently within its ownership, to support the proposed development of Dyce railway station to accommodate rail passenger growth and to improve customer service at the station. Proposed by Aberdeen International Airport.

Inverness Airport
In June 2006 a proposal was announced to open a new station at Dalcross, which would serve as interchange for Inverness Airport and also provide park-and-ride facilities for commuters to Inverness. Proposed by Hitrans.

Glasgow International Airport
PRT, Tram-Train and Heavy Rail options identified in the Glasgow Airport Strategic Transport Network Study 2011, prepared by Sytra, appraised by Aecom. The Scottish Government has announced in February 2014 that it will consider a proposal for a tram-train link from Glasgow Airport onto the existing rail network. Proposed by Glasgow Airport.

Cardiff Airport
A number of options for introducing enhanced services to Rhoose Cardiff International Airport station have been considered in Cardiff Airport Master Plan 2006. In a Local Development Plan 2013, the Vale of Glamorgan Council proposed building a 1.5 mile rail spur to directly link the airport from the Cardiff to Bridgend coastal line. Proposed by Vale of Glamorgan Council.