W Southern route plan
use the congested Slow line with the Egham level crossings. You come off the South West Main Line at West Byfleet, already gradeseparated with a dive-under, go round towards Chertsey, and then alongside the M25.
“No bay platform at Woking is needed because the intention is to run to Basingstoke and Guildford. There is an issue around what is happening to the planned flyover at Woking to take the Portsmouth lines. It would certainly make the Heathrow options easier, but it is not impossible without the flyover.”
Network Rail’s 2015 Wessex Route Study proposed flyovers at Woking and Basingstoke with an extra platform at Woking. It said these were essential to meet future capacity needs on the SWML.
“Going Up, it would run on the Slow line to West Byfleet,” explained Garnett. “On the Down, it dives in underneath the main line and comes onto the Slow line. That’s the beauty of this - it does not interfere with the Fast line.
“Also, you could use it to extend the Elizabeth Line from Heathrow to Staines if you put in another platform at Staines. That would give people another journey option.
“There is one complicated bit where we cross the M3 near the M25 interchange. You have to build a bridge over the M3. But it is all doable.”
A Waterloo service via Clapham Junction would require a new connection to the WindsorStaines line between Staines and Wraysbury.
The total cost is estimated to be between £1.2 billion and £1.3bn. The earliest completion date would be 2025. Heathrow Southern Railway says there is a “very strong” payback on private sector investment, with or without a third runway at the airport.
Garnett added: “The traffic from Woking to Heathrow is not enormous - it’s the through traffic that makes the real difference. It’s slightly longer than going to Waterloo, but it gets you to a different part of London - it links to HS2 and to the Elizabeth Line. The economic benefit is in the total traffic. These trains will run full from Day 1. This is a big market.”
Garnett is 71, and moreor-less retired. “It’s just such a good idea,” he said. “The need is obvious and the case for doing it is so overwhelming. We have the right people, too.”