Heathrow to Sur­rey link plan

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - News -

A MAP has been pub­lished which shows plans to link Heathrow Air­port di­rectly to Sur­rey train sta­tions for the first time.

Heathrow South­ern Rail (HSR) wants to build new rail links be­tween the air­port and ex­ist­ing sta­tions in Sur­rey to cut the num­ber of peo­ple trav­el­ling to Heathrow by car.

As part of the pro­pos­als, HSR has re­leased a map which shows the sta­tions to which it wants to set up di­rect trains.

If ap­proved it means pas­sen­gers from places such as Guild­ford, Wok­ing and Staines would be able to get trains di­rectly to Heathrow, rather than get­ting stuck on the M25.

Ac­cord­ing to HSR, if given ap­proval, the scheme could cut travel times to the air­port in half and would make it more ac­ces­si­ble by pub­lic trans­port.

The map’s pub­li­ca­tion comes af­ter the trans­port sec­re­tary Chris Grayling asked for pri­vate com­pa­nies and third par­ties to come for­ward with their ideas for rail links be­tween Heathrow and south­ern Eng­land in March.

HSR says the scheme, which would cost be­tween £1.3 bil­lion and £1.6bn, would see eight miles of new track built in tun­nels along­side the M25 to con­nect the air­port to ex­ist­ing tracks.

Speak­ing to the Chron­i­cle, Gra­ham Cross, chief ex­ec­u­tive of HSR, said: “There’s about eight miles of new rail­way (to be) built. It’s mostly in tun­nels be­cause we want it to have a low en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.”

He added that the aim of the project would be to get peo­ple who are trav­el­ling to the air­port out of their cars and onto pub­lic trans­port.

“We were aim­ing to serve part of the coun­try that just wasn’t served at all by pub­lic trans­port, but we were also try­ing to make it quicker than roads,” he said. “The thrust of the scheme is get­ting peo­ple off the road and onto rail.”

The scheme would cen­tre on places that Mr Cross says have a high need for the links, such as Staines, Guild­ford and Wok­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures put for­ward by HSR, links in Staines, Wok­ing and Guild­ford would re­duce the travel time to the air­port by 10, 19 and 29 min­utes re­spec­tively, with trains run­ning at least twice an hour from each sta­tion.

“We’ve cho­sen the big­gest places with the big­gest pop­u­la­tions and (which) have the largest amount of peo­ple will would want to go to Heathrow,” he said. “The rail­way fills a need for them.

“What we have to look at is the cost and the ben­e­fit. While our scheme has a high cost, it has a very high level of ben­e­fits.

“Our scheme is more than just an air­port rail link be­cause it also links Guild­ford and Wok­ing to Lon­don Padding­ton.”

How­ever, the HSR pro­posal is not the only sug­ges­tion.

In June, Spelthorne Bor­ough Coun­cil an­nounced it was putting for­ward pro­pos­als for a light rail scheme link­ing Staines and Heathrow. The gov­ern­ment had an­nounced it was hop­ing to re­spond to the pro­pos­als in the au­tumn, but is yet to do so.

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