Heathrow to Surrey link plan
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.