LONDON, England – Heathrow is urging supporters of Network Rail’s proposed Western Rail Link to make their views heard in a public consultation, opening tomorrow. The rail link is an important part of the airport’s plans to ensure that even if the airport were to expand, there would be no more airport-related vehicles on the road in 2030 compared to today.
Western Rail Link has the potential to remove up to one million car journeys from local roads, and save 30 million road miles of carbon emissions in the first year of service alone. It will reduce airport related traffic on some of the busiest parts of the UK’s motorway network, including the M3, M4 and M25. As part of wider plans to transform rail access to Heathrow, this project, along with HS2 via Old Oak Common, Crossrail and Southern Rail would see Heathrow Airport add a further 3 million annual passenger journeys by public transport by 2020 and eventually treble its rail capacity by 2040. This will ensure Heathrow meets EU air quality limits, and is a key component of the airport’s plans to reduce its impacts on local communities.
Travel abroad will also be made much easier for residents West of the airport, as Western Rail Access will also cut journey times dramatically. Direct connections will also make the journey into work more accessible to the thousands of Slough and Reading residents who work at the airport.
The plans also represent a potential boost to the economy of communities along the Great Western Line. Businesses trade 20 times as much with countries they can reach via a direct, frequent, flight. Increased access to the UK’s only hub airport will ensure exporters reach global markets and make it easier for investors to come to the UK.
Chris Joyce, Head of Surface Access, at Heathrow said:
“The Western Rail Link will aid Heathrow in its ambition to provide the best airport service in the world, but it will also have benefits further afield. This is a transformative project with tremendous opportunities to expand opportunities for businesses in Slough, Reading and those further West and could make a real difference in reducing the largest source of local air pollution, road emissions.”
The proposed project will tunnel a link of 3.8km from a junction on the Great Western Main Line east of Langley, near Slough and will service four trains per hour between Reading and Heathrow. This rail link is part of Heathrow’s plan to become one of the most environmentally responsible hub airports in the world.